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John Rogers, far right, portraying Gustav Aubin, reacts to a conversation between Trevor Jackson, playing Dr. Hercule Molineaux, and his wife Suzanne, played by Tia Laulusa. Western Oregon University's staging of "The Ladies Man" opens Wednesday and runs through Saturday on campus in Monmouth.
July 31, 2012
MONMOUTH -- Slamming doors, sexual tension, absurd dialogue and a series of misunderstandings are the hallmarks of any good bedroom farce.
This week, Western Oregon University's theater department is inviting audiences to sample the work of one of the originators of the genre.
"The Ladies Man" begins its four-night run on Wednesday at WOU's Rice Auditorium. The play is a 2007 adaptation of playwright Georges Feydeau's "Tailler Pour Dames" ("The Ladies Dressmaker").
WOU professor and director David Janoviak said the piece also integrates some of the storylines and characters from some of Feydeau's other work.
"That's one of the things that makes this special," Janoviak said. "It's an amalgamation of all his best writing."
The fast-paced plot is set in turn-of-the-20th-century Paris and revolves around Hercule Molineaux, a doctor and husband to a much younger woman.
Molineaux is suffering from ... hmm ... performance issues. Ashamed, he sleeps in his office in an effort to avoid and hide his secret from Yvonne. She, in turn, jumps to the conclusion that he's having an affair.
Molineaux devises a series of lies to cover up his indiscretion and save his marriage, and runs afoul of a patient's jealous husband and an overbearing mother-in-law in the process.
"What makes it funny is how quickly this all fires off," said Trevor Jackson, a WOU sophomore tasked with portraying the well-meaning, but flustered Molineaux. "And (my character) is trying to adapt to a new obstacle or situation every two minutes.
The university's summer schedule usually revolves around lighter fare, not unlike how a movie studio might plan its releases.
"This one's above and beyond what we usually do," Janoviak said. "At least, our costumers would certainly say `yes.'
"If we were doing twice as many costumes for a modern-period play, it wouldn't be as difficult," Janoviak said. "Finding a Prussian uniform in the exact style for the period is tough."
The two-scene set -- the play takes place in the doctor's office and a dress shop -- includes five doors and a revolving bed that the actors have to incorporate.
Jackson's character is on stage for nearly the entire production. For him, the challenge was running through a gamut of panic and anxiety reactions.
"The hardest part for me is keeping that pace throughout the entire show and not letting myself get tired," he said. "You come home (from) rehearsal drained."
The play seems bawdy, and there are a number of sexual references, but Janoviak said he would probably rate it "PG-13."
"There are so many people believed to be having affairs and hiding in closets and in this play, nobody actually has an affair," he said. "There's a scene where a skirt and pants get ripped off -- but the undergarments are so substantial, they're like bloomers."
What: Western Oregon University department of theater and dance presents "The Ladies Man," by Georges Feydeau and adapted by Charles Morey.
When: Performances will run Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. A matinee is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Where: Rice Auditorium, WOU campus, 345 N. Monmouth Ave., Monmouth.
Cast: The cast of eight includes Trevor Jackson as Dr. Hercule Molineaux, Kira Batcheller as Yvonne Molineaux, and Ruth Mandsager as Madame Aigreville.
Admission: $7 for students, $10 for seniors and $12 for general. Seating is limited to 80 per performance.
For more information or tickets: 503-838-8462. The box office is open 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.