Farce and satire will combine for rare and challenging theater.
“The Female of the Species” will be presented by (un)Apologetic Productions at 8 tonight, Saturday and Thursday and Feb. 1 and 2 and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Russell House, 538 Park Ave. in the Moxham section of Johnstown.
Joanna Murray-Smith’s play is loosely based on a real-life incident in 2000, when author Germaine Greer was held at gunpoint in her own home by a disturbed student.
In the play, Margot Mason is a feminist writer suffering from writer’s block, and Molly Rivers is a deranged former student who arrives unexpectedly at her country home with a gun and handcuffs Mason to her desk.
“Molly is upset about something Margot has written and takes her hostage for an afternoon at her country home,” said director Scott Jeffreys.
“Other characters keep showing up, and it gets crazier and crazier.”
Jeffreys was called upon to take over directorial duties at the last minute.
“I jumped in blind,” Jeffreys said.
“I had a general impression of what the play was about. Our company likes to give the area what they don’t normally see, something off the beaten path.”
Even though he came in blind as director, Jeffreys had worked with most of the cast as an actor and was confident he would have a good show.
“My job as a director or actor is to look at the material and explore,” Jeffreys said.
“If something is well-written and you have no preconceived notions, it takes care of itself.”
“The Female of the Species” uses the feminist movement as satire as it goes after anyone who exploits any movement for wealth and power.
While the comedy of a farce is usually fairly silly, Jeffreys said the satire makes some profound social statements.
“My job is to be a guide and point the audience in the right direction,” Jeffreys said.
“When something is supposed to be funny, I need to make sure it comes up right.”
The one-act play will be staged in the sitting room at Russell House, which will be set up as Mason’s writing room.
Jeffreys said the play is definitely for adults.
Paula Carroll will head the cast as Mason with Lindsay St. Clair as Molly Rivers; Brianne France Layton as Tess Thornton, Mason’s daughter; Chris Smith as Bryan Thornton, her son-in-law; Robb Miller as Frank the taxi driver; and Randy Jeffreys as Theo Reynolds, Mason’s publisher.
Jen Johnson will serve as assistant director. Becky Griffith is stage manager and Bruce Standley, technical director.
What: “The Female of the Species” presented by (un)Apologetic Productions.
When: 8 tonight, Saturday and Thursday and Feb. 1 and 2 and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Russell House, 538 Park Ave. in the Moxham section of Johnstown.
Tickets: $10 at the door.