Picketwire Players Open Their Season with The Underpants

Description: "The Underpants" takes the Picketwire Stage Feb 29 through March 2, 2024. Photo by John Lockhart.

Published: 02/29/2024
Byline: Picketwire Players

Picketwire Players Open Their Season with The Underpants

A Wonderfully Funny Comedy

Can we all just agree at the outset: Steve Martin is one wild and crazy guy, whose script is comedic genius. His adaptation of Carl Sterheim’s 1910 German farce Die Hose is delightful.

The Underpants, was the perfect selection to open Picketwire’s 2024 season. Under the direction of the skilled veteran, Ashley Jo Kelley, the play is simply brilliant. Ms. Kelley has directed her cast to hit on all cylinders, with perfect timing as they deliver lines only the most skilled actors can tackle.

The play begins in the Maske’s living room – after a rather embarrassing incident (which is never shown, only discussed). Theobald Maske laments over his unusual problem: his wife's underpants won't stay on. One Sunday morning, as his wife, Louise, is watching a parade, her underpants (in truth, her bloomers) fall to her ankles right in the middle of town--a public scandal! Mortified, Theo swears to keep her at home until she can find some less unruly undies.

The Maskes, played by Demian Ryder and Heather Pidcock-Reed, portray just the right amount of righteous indignation and apologetic virtue. As the play progresses, both characters become a little less righteous. Mr. Ryder shows great command as the stuffy husband. Ms. Pidcock-Reed skillfully plays her transformation from wifely constrictions, to physical desires, and, finally, her growing strength as she realizes her moral behavior should not be restrained just to suit her husband’s need for respectability.  

Amid this chaos the Maskes have been trying to rent a room in their flat. Interestingly, after weeks of no takers, prospective lodgers start appearing at their door – apparently with some “underlying” objectives of their own. The previously bored-to-tears Louise encourages the distractions, and the new renters comply. Frank Versati, gentleman and poet, turns Louise’s head. Veteran Picketwire actor, Tom Seaba, once again delivers an exceptional performance.

The women of Picketwire really shine in this play. Molly Borton brilliantly brings to life the nosey neighbor, who desires to live vicariously through Louise. Ms. Borton’s comedic timing and physical reactions are without equal.

The second renter, Benjamin Cohen, is played by one of Picketwire’s notable character actors, Angelica Leija. It seems there is no challenge that Ms. Leija cannot surpass. Two other women take on male roles: Jennifer Hart plays Klinglehoff and Katie Merewether transforms herself into the King of Germany. Both are skillful in their depictions.

There was as much experienced talent on the technical side as on stage. It was a joy to see some familiar faces back after a few years. Assisting Ms. Kelley with directorial duties is Topher Mascarenas. He also served as Lighting Technician. Lena Figueroa designed the lights. Audrey Tafoya is the Production Assistant and Stage Management duties fall to Hilary Harsh.

The period costumes were marvelous. Accomplishing this fashion wonder were Debra Owen, Lorene Marez, and Rebecca Ayala. The set, designed by Ashley Jo Kelley, is grand and perfect for the period of when the play is set. Set crew included the cast and crew, Tim Kelley, Bob and Anna Matejek, Chris Stork, Kristine Plantz, and Carolina Estrada-Cortez.

Ms. Kelley declared in her Director notes that “Theater is magic!” Well, she certainly delivered on that magic with this production. The Underpants is a fun, clever, over-the-top comedy, and Picketwire’s production will have the audience laughing along with it the whole time. From the humorous dialogue to the physical comedy, this show will give everyone a good time.

The Underpants opens Thursday, February 29th and runs through Saturday, March 2nd. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office or online: https://www.picketwireplayers.org/tickets/

Picketwire Center for the Performing and Visual Arts is located at 802 San Juan Avenue in La Junta, Colorado

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