“Arms and the Man” by Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, is “a romantic comedy armed with chocolate,” and it is the final show of Actors Circle’s 31st season.
There will be plenty of wit, irony and charm to go around for anyone who would like to see a romantic comedy that pokes fun at the dangers of bravado in battle and idealistic notions of love, “as a young lady awaits the return of her heroic fiancé from war,” and “a disheveled soldier sneaks into her bedroom fleeing the fight…”
The show will be presented at Providence Playhouse, 1256 Providence Road, Scranton May 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19, with show times Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“Arms and the Man” will take the audience through a variety of emotions, according to John McInerney, director.
“…I think they (the audience) will laugh and they will also be kind of nodding interestedly when the characters come up with things that are insightful, as well as funny. That’s what Shaw does with lots of popular dramatic forms like the farce, the historical epic and the melodrama,” said McInerney.
“He takes all of these popular forms and he uses them and sometimes subverts them for his own purposes…”
For many years, McInerney, educator, playwright, actor and director, has been interested in the works of Shaw, one of the authors he covered in his Ph.D. dissertation.
This is McInerney’s first effort to direct Shaw. “I’ve always wanted Shaw to be done.”
In fact, he is so enamored with Shaw’s works, some years ago he joined the International Shaw Society and is the organization’s recording secretary.
On June 15, McInerney will attend a meeting and seminar at Shaw’s home north of London, where he will present a paper on directing “Arms and the Man” for a community theater organization and audience.
“My experiences are going to be related to the gathering outside of London at Shaw’s home as an example of what it’s like to bring Shaw’s plays to life on a stage for a community and a community theater audience.”
The group also meets at least once each year at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario at the theatre festival.
“I picked this particular play, ‘Arms and the Man,’ because it is set in late 19th century Bulgaria, and it doesn’t require British accents, and also it has always proved to be one of Shaw’s most popular and most accessible plays. It’s basically a romantic farce with unexpected arrivals and awkward coincidences, and fast things happening on the stage…”
Cast members are Jeff Ginsberg, Howie Jacobi, Victoria Kusy, Nicole Lopez-Isa; family members, JP McGowan, Jeannine McGowan, and Laura McGowan; Bill Mecca and David Spitzer.
The set design was done as a contribution and a favor by Rich Larsen, director of the University of Scranton theater program and a wonderful designer, according to McInerney.
“The play requires three different sets and each act takes place in a different setting…so his (Larsen’s) design is very clever and allows us to change sets in a very short time….”
Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors and $6 for students. On May 9, tickets are $8 for general admission and seniors, and $6 for students.
Call 570.342.9707 for more information or to make reservations. Visit actorscircle.org or friend Actors Circle on Facebook.