The Haunted House

A Commedy
by Plautus
Translated by Erich Segal1
(Research and adding this to our repertoire, by Rose de Le Mans)
Performed at: West Kingdom Twelfth Night, January 6, AS XLI (2007)

Synopsis:
Plautus really seems to have liked the idea of an "uppity" slave causing all kinds of trouble, based on this, and the other play of his we did The Braggart Soldier, a few years ago. The son of a well-off gentleman (who has been travelling for three years) has been squandering his father's money. The father returns from his travels. This puts everyone in a panic, and our slave takes over the situation, and ... well ... I don't want to give more away.

Research and Design:
Rose de Le Mans took care of the research for both the script and the costuming for this play. She also put a lot of effort into editing the script (removing some egregious modernisms from the translation, trimming it down to a manageable length, etc.).

Staffan Arfruidsson, new to the troupe, has put some effort into recreating a period road-side altar which we need for the play.

The Performance:
Simply put, as some of the actors have stated, this was not our best performance, but it wasn't our worst either. We had some foo (described below), but people worked hard to pull it together. I know that after the show they were kicking themselves for some of the foobs, but that's pretty normal -- it's seldom that any show gets through without some line being dropped, or some thing happening that annoys at least the person who did it ...

However, I was in the audience (well, standing to the side) and while they were not laughing loudly or commenting (they did) loudly, they were enjoying the play.

Chiara did an amazing job filling in for poor Grania (see "Incidents"), really. Picking up a new role in two days on top of one you already have, and having one rehearsal the night before the performance to go over that role and get he blocking right and such was not easy, and she really came through.

Incidents:
This script was a bit tough to work with for some reason. The actors through the rehearsals, from newer folk to experienced, have had problems with lines and more odd, with cues. However, the troupe is coming through well, because as always they work hard ...

However, two days before 12th Night, I got a phone call from Rowan (the stage manager) -- both he and his wife (Grania) came down with pneumonia, and weren't coming to the event. I knew she had a cold the weekend before at rehearsal, but wow. Panic time! (This call came in at the same time I was dealing with the printer screwing up both the programs and the awards lists ...) After some back-and-forth in email, and a bit of pushing on my end, we decided to go on anyway, and Chiara (playing a small part at the end of the show) stepped up to do the role Grania was doing, and a rehearsal is being held the Friday evening before 12th Night to cover that scene specifically and get Chiara ready for it. Also Donovan (aka Walkyr) drove to Santa Cruz (from Vallejo!) to get the sets so they will be there. Whew.

Once again:
"Strangely enough, it all turns out well."
"How?"
"I don't know, it's a mystery!"
(from Shakespeare in Love).

Video Tape/Photographs:
The video camera didn't make it to the event, so we have no video. I think some of the actors may be glad of it, but ... oh well. Sh*t happens.

 Photos: Photographs of the Play (West Kingdom History website)

 The Script: The Script (PDF)

From The Program:

Dramatis Personae
PrologueHirsch von Henford
Trania, slave to PhilolachesGhislaine d'Auxerre
Grumio, a slaveUrtatim bint 'abd al-Karim al-hakam al-Fassi
Philolaches, a young manWulfric of Creigull
Philematium, a girl of joyGrania Buchanan* **
Scapha, her maid, an old hagRose de Le Mans
Callidamates, a young manDonovan Sinklar
Delphium, a girl of joy to CallidamatesOriginal Nightshade
Theopropides, an old man, father to PhilolachesJuan Santiago
Misargyrides, a moneylenderFionnbhar O'Cathain
Simo, an old man, neighbour to TheopropidesAimeric de Foix
Phaniscus, a slave to CallidamatesMargrethe Astrid Ravn
Pinacium, a slave to CallidamatesChiara la Trombattiera*

* First time with the Golden Stag Players

** Note -- as Grania was ill and could not attend the event, Chiara la Trombattiera stepped up to the plate and learned the role in two days, with one small rehearsal the night before the performance. She did an admirable job of covering the role, and is to be commended for her extra efforts.

Support Crew
DirectorHirsch von Henford
Script EditingRose de Le Mans
Stage ManagerRowan Buchanan* **
Stage CrewThe Cast
Set CrewJuan Santiago,
Rowan Buchanan*,
Staffan Arffuidsson*
DreyageRowan Buchanan* ***
PropertiesThe Cast
Costume DesignRose de Le Mans
CostumesThe Cast,
Donata Bonacorsi
Camera OperatorStaffan Arffuidsson*

** -- Note that as Rowan was ill and could not attend Twelfth Night, this position was sort of filled by everyone, with thanks to Nightshade's friend Ed for helping watch the script and deal with lines.

*** -- Note that as Rowan was ill, Walkyr transported the sets to 12th Night and back, but Rowan transported them to all the rehearsals before that.

Special Thanks

This is the 15th Year The Golden Stag Players have been entertaining the Kingdom (and ourselves), and to celebrate we created t-shirts. If you'd like one too, please visit:

http://www.zazzle.com/goldenstagplayers*

For your information:
1 Drachma= approx $1.00
1000 Drachmae= 1 Mina
60 Minae= 1 Silver Talent
1 Silver Talent= approx $60,000.00
This bit of research provided by Ghislaine d'Auxerre

Obituaries
(Cast in the order of appearance on stage ...)

Maestro Hirsch von Henford, founder of The Golden Stag Players (the Premier Theatrical Troupe of the West Kingdom) was found on the floor of the home that he shared with his wife Mistress Aldith Angharad St. George and their cats, buried in a stack of copies of a play that we have been asked to report as "The English Play". There was a note nearby that said "It wasn't that bad, maybe I can convince them to do it again for posterity and a better video ...". Foul play is suspected, Mistress Aldith is not under suspicion, but the cats looked awfully guilty.

The corpse of Urtatim al-Qurtubiyya bint 'abd al-Karim al-hakam al-Fassi, the persona formerly known as Anahita, was recently uncovered. She was dressed in purple silk velvet and cloth of silver, and shod in thigh high purple boots of Spanish leather. Apparently she had been in the process of preparing an exotic feast when kitchen shelves collapsed, crushing her. Her corpse was remarkably well preserved by the many pounds of rare spices under which she was buried.

Services were held this past weekend for the collected members of the Golden Stag Players. Madame Ghislaine d'Auxerre, as the sole surviving member of the renowned acting troupe, delivered the eulogy. When asked after the ceremony what the West Kingdom and the Knowne World would do now for their annual entertainment, Mme d'Auxerre responded "Cope". She then promptly turned around and, in true cliché fashion, tripped over a shovel and fell to her death in an open grave.

Master Wulfric of Creigull was roasted to death in his own bread oven. Tiring of urban life, Wulfric had retired to the forest where he built a giant oven and a beautiful cottage made entirely of bread. According to the constables' report, his quiet repose was disturbed by two wandering juvenile delinquents. The malicious children vandalized his cottage and stuffed Wulfric into the oven, setting it to "slow roast". They then made off with Wulfric's jewels. The constables are currently tracing a trail of breadcrumbs that the murderers left behind.

Baroness Grania Buchanan was found deep inside a fabric warehouse, crushed to death under a pile of fabric bolts. She was attempting to purchase said bolts, but the weight was too much. She tripped and the whole pile landed on top of her. She was found by a search and rescue team hired by her lord, Baron Rowan Buchanan. He was heard to be mumbling something about life insurance, a party, and Scotland.

The body of Dame Rose de Le Mans was found face-down in her indigo dye vat. From the corpse's condition, it had been there at least two weeks. When pressed for an explanation, her husband replied, "She was auditioning for the Blue Man Group and I assumed she was on tour. You'd think I'd have noticed the rotting corpse ... because the vat didn't smell as badly as usual."

Lord Donavan Synklar's body was found in a remote cave near Mt. Diablo under a gigantic pile of sleeping bats. The coroner's office confimed death by slow suffocation, but a local naturalist stated that while mobbing behavior is not typical of local bat colonies, they have been known to mob humans who exhibit bat-like characteristics, "They probably saw him as another bat, and they just loved him to death." Mr. Synklar is survived by his wife, Margrethe Astrid Ravn, who was quoted as saying, "I'll kick those trampy bats' asses as soon as I figure out how. Get back to you on that."

Common decency prohibits us from describing the manner of Lady Original Nightshade's demise, but rest assured that the horse was not harmed in her final re-enactment of the life of Catherine the Great.

Master Juan Santiago, a founding member of The Golden Stag Players, rose from the ashes yet again after hearing the same old tired joke about being a witch and finally got bored enough with the whole thing to set himself on fire. He was heard yelling over the roar of the flames "What? You think this is funny? At the very least get it right and use the term warlock!" Apparently he keeps rising up from the ashes in the hopes that people will get as bored with the joke as he is. You'd think he would know better.

Fionnbharr O'Cathain appears to have passed away. He is survived by an Apple. He is survived by an Apple and a Blanket. He is survived by an Apple, a Blanket, and a Cookie. He is survived by an Apple, a Blanket, a Cookie, and a Deer. He is survived by an Apple, a Blanket, a Cookie, a Deer, and an Egg. He is survived by an Apple, a Blanket.... wait; that's the "We're going on a picnic" game. Never mind.

The apparent remains of one-time limerick champion and occasional clothes-wearer Aimeric de Foix were found late yesterday, strewn about a 10-mile blast radius following what was reported to have been the most concussive burp in the history of Mediterranean cuisine. Reports that Aimeric was full of hot air immediately prior to the explosion could not be corroborated due to the immediate vaporization of all potential observers, although a very small mint is reported to be missing from a nearby store.

Mistress Margrethe Astrid Ravn was reported dead when her skiff was swept out to sea. She is survived by two cats, both of whom lay claim to the large pile of scrap fabric left behind. The cats are reported to have burrowed inside the scraps and are now quite content, save for lack of skitchies.

Chiara La Trombottiera was discovered dead this morning of a broken neck incurred during a tragicly overenthusiastic attempt to chase her tail. Her cat, Hematite, (clearly the instigator of the fatal act) was found sitting on her owner's head, demurely cleaning herself and complaining loudly about the lack of fresh tuna in the kitchen. When informed of her owner's demise through use of hand-waving, diagrams, and the judicious use of a polyjuice potion, Hemi simply flicked her tail and hrmphed, "What a *monkey!*"

(Not on stage, but vital to the production of the play!)
Baron Rowan Buchanan was found dead in his home today, surrounded by empty bottles and confetti. The constable in charge told this reporter that "he had recently lost his wife, Baroness Grania Buchanan, in a tragic fabric accident. He was trying to drown his sorrows in drink, poor bloke. Too bad the only thing around was Champagne." He is survived by his young son, Connor, who is now residing in a castle in Scotland with relatives.

Herr Staffan Arffuidsson (aka Staffan Afruidson, Hákon refr) was killed by Duke Massimiliano Sforza's guards after placing caltrops on his chair. The guards have stated that Staffan's last words were, "... but, it was funny!"

Maestra Donata Bonacorsi was the victim of a freak accident involving her printing press. Details are sketchy, but apparently her last words were "Well, I did always want to be tall and thin."

After having been missing for months, Maestra Teresa le Marchant was discovered in a cave made entirely of books, lying in a pool of ink. Cause of death was not immediately clear, although the smudged ink on her fingers and on the books appears to indicate that she was attempting to devour too much information all at the same time.

Misargyrides the Moneylender

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Reviews:
None so far.

1 Plautus: Four Comedies, Oxford University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-19-283896-2.