Student-directed 'Underpants' to show at SUNY Oswego

SUNY Oswego’s annual student honors production will display the farcical fare of “The Underpants,” opening at 8 p.m. Nov. 17 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre.

Student director Aaron Londraville discusses stitching together “The Underpants”

Aaron Londraville, a senior with a dual major in theatre and cinema and screen studies, directs the production. Londraville works under the advisement of Jonel Langenfeld-Rial of the theatre department.

Student-directed play 'The Underpants.'Londraville submitted a resume and interviewed for the director position. After his selection, he wasted no time getting started. He met with designers, many of them students, to work out details such as costumes and the set, in addition to crafting his vision of the play this past spring.

Comedian, actor and director Steve Martin created this adaptation of the play originally titled “Die Hose (The Underpants),” written by German dramatist Carl Sternheim in 1910. In 1911, “Die Hose” was published and performed under the title “Der Riese (The Giant),” because the Berlin police deemed the original title grossly immoral.

Reviews of “The Underpants” praise it as both a farce and a play with meaningful social commentary. “The play, written as a wicked satire on the middle class, has become in Mr. Martin’s hands an ambitious amalgam of comic book and social commentary,” a New York Times review noted. A USA Today review called it “(an) ambitious little comedy. A bawdy farce. The intellectual aspirations in Martin’s wild and crazy humor have grown increasingly apparent.”

Set in 1910 Germany, “The Underpants” is the story of Louise Maske (Jessica Quindlen), a beautiful but neglected young wife. At the king’s parade, her bloomers inexplicably fall to her ankles. This event causes Louise’s husband Theo (Nate Roy) great concern because he already thinks his wife is too attractive for him and fears a scandal.

A poet named Versati (Dylan Duffy) and the barber Cohen (Jacob Luria), witnesses of the incident, compete for Louise’s attention and attempt to seduce her. The rest of the cast includes Olivia Zeis as Gertrude, Daniel Distasio as Klinglehoff and Samuel-Graeme Austin as the king.

Physical comedy

“It’s really a hilarious piece. I’m playing up a lot of the physical comedy in the play,” Londraville said. His direction comes from reading the play once or twice a day and thorough research on the play and its background. “Steve Martin is an excellent writer. He’s very witty and he really has something to say.”

Londraville predicts the play will be about an hour and a half long with an intermission, but notes that “it’s an hour and a half that is going to be moving very quickly because it’s all very quick and witty and keeps you engaged the whole way through.”

The production team also includes students Sarah Sterling, assistant director; Jamie Ruggio, lighting designer; and Ariel Marcus, assistant costume designer. Faculty involved include Tim Baumgartner, scenic designer; Kitty Macey, costume designer; and Steven Shull, sound designer.

The Blackfriars Theatre Organization and Student Association also make this production possible.

Due to adult situations, the play is recommended for those ages 16 or over.

“The Underpants” will have an 8 p.m. preview on Tuesday, Nov. 16, with all seats $5.

Additional 8 p.m. curtains are set Nov. 17 to 20, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday,
Nov. 21. Tickets cost $15 ($12 for faculty, staff, seniors 60 and older and non-SUNY Oswego students; $7 for SUNY Oswego students).

Tickets may be purchased at http://tickets.oswego.edu or by calling the Tyler Hall box office at (315) 312-2141. Patrons with disabilities who require assistance should call the box office to make arrangements. Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends.

PHOTO CAPTION: Preparing ‘Underpants’—Student director Aaron Londraville works with leads Nate Roy (as Theo Maske) and Jessica Quindlen (Louise Maske) in “The Underpants,” this year’s student honors production at SUNY Oswego. The farce, adapted by comedian, actor and director Steve Martin from an early 20th century German play, will run Nov. 17 to 21 in Tyler Hall’s lab theatre.

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Story: Brian Schaedler, senior English major; video: Emi Williams, senior broadcasting major

(Posted: Oct 27, 2010)

Tags: underpants, theatre, theater, steve martin, none, londraville, langenfeld-rial, lab theatre