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The Underpants Production Set to Be a Rip-Roaring Good Time

By Ashley Marie Mitchell / Log Staff Writer
On March 24, 2011

Salem State's Student Theater Ensemble (STE) is currently working their "underpants" off for their upcoming production that will be performed towards the end of this month.

The Underpants, directed by SSU alum Britt Mitchell and assistant directed by Emily Laverdiere and Kevin Murphy Walunas, is a German sex farce based on Die Hose by playwright Carl Sternheim. Set in 1910 Germany, the show involves a middle-class couple dealing with a fallen pair of underpants. Throughout the play is seduction, lingerie, and even sausages (no German play should be performed without them).

"I hope this show not only makes people laugh, but makes people laugh at themselves," said Mitchell. "We live in such a sexually obsessed culture, we take it for granted. The Victorian, suppressed lifestyles that these German people led makes us look at the effects sex has on a society, whether it be repressed in 1900 or overwhelming in 2011."

I was fortunate enough to sit in on a recent rehearsal of the show and I was blown away by the talent this show has to offer. Seven SSU students perform in the comedy, including senior Alyssa Purnhagen, who plays Louise Maske, the show's lead. Louise is dominated by her government clerk husband, Theo (Ian Helmick), who chastises her for the public fall of her underpants. The innocent but provocative accident drives the emotions and physical actions of Cohen (Keith W. Trickett) and Versati (Luke David Young), and out play the consequences until the final scene. Also in the show are hilarious performances by Tina Marie Sheehan, Ryan Boettcher, and John Chapdelaine.

Mitchell is proud of how the production is coming along and is confident that The Underpants will be a show to remember.

"This production is a lot like sex," says Mitchell. "It has climaxes and innuendos the pacing changes and sometimes the tension can get pretty tight. Overall, you will hopefully leave satisfied and wanting more."

The Underpants will run in the Callan Theater March 24-26 with performances at 7:30 p.m., with a final performance on March 27 at 2 p.m. You can pre-order tickets by calling (978) 542-7000.

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