Man, What a woman
The audience is immediately thrown into the late 1800s with the ragtime music throughout Memorial Hall’s auditorium and the on-stage set with a projection picture of Oxford in the background. The script may have been written during the 1890s, but “Charley’s Aunt” provides plenty of humor for the modern audience.
The characters are brought to life by their actors and actresses and draw the audience into the play while still giving them the omniscient view of events as they unfold.
Since the play was written in the 1800s, it portrays the cultural expectations of that time, the most troublesome of those being young ladies weren’t supposed to be alone with men without a chaperone.
This provides a problem for young Jack Chesney, played by Nathan Wojciechowski, senior of Gering, and Charles Wykeham, played by Trajan Garcia, freshmen of Alliance. Both have crushes, Jack on Kitty Verdun, played by Hannah Smith, sophomore of Broken Bow, and Charles is infatuated with young miss Amy Spettigue, played by Courtney Smith, sophomore of Hampton.
Both young men wish to confess their feelings to the young women before they lose their chance but the obvious problem?
They need a chaperone.
All seems well when Charles receives a note that his aunt will be arriving from Brazil that afternoon. The boys invite the girls … only to then receive a telegram that Charley’s aunt won’t be arriving for another few days.
Kitty and Amy won’t stay without a chaperone and Jack and Charles are quickly about to lose their opportunity when the “perfect” solution appears: Lord Fancourt Babberly, or “Babbs”, dressed up like an old lady. Babbs is played by Samuel Thomas Martin, senior of Hot Springs, South Dakota.
Somehow Charles and Jack convince Babbs to spend the afternoon as “Charley’s aunt, from Brazil, where the nuts come from,” and the shenanigans begin!
Things only get more complicated as Sir Francis Chesney, played by Leo Haselhorst, senior of Randolph, comes to visit his son, and then Mr. Stephen Spettigue, played by Johnny Cross, Norfolk, Virginia, discovers where his niece, Amy, and his ward, Kitty, are.
On top of all that, when you think things can’t get any more complicated for these young lovestruck men, Charley’s real aunt, Donna Lucia D’Alvadorez, played by Jennaya Hill, sophomore of Gordon, and her ward, Ela Delahay, played by Kaitlynn Hessler, freshmen of Mitchell, arrive.
The play is long, three acts with a ten-minute, ragtime filled intermission between each, but it is well worth the watch. Each act is followed by another with more secrets and complications than the last and each only adds to the comedy of it all.
The audience is let in on what each character is going through by little asides directly to the audience from several of the characters throughout the play. The actors and actresses all maintain their British accents throughout and play their characters with entertaining expression. A visit to one of the performances in Memorial Hall’s auditorium is highly recommended.
“Charley’s Aunt” will be performed tonight through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are free for CSC faculty and students and are $5 for the public. They can be reserved by calling 308-432-6207 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.