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ATHENS, GA – UGA Theatre presents “Peas, Patelin, and Purgation: Three Farcical Arts of the Deal.” Featuring a world-premiere translation and directed by associate professor Marla Carlson, performances are March 19–23 at 8:00 p.m. and March 23 & 24 at 2:30 p.m in the Cellar Theatre. Tickets are $12 and $7 for UGA students. Tickets can be purchased online at www.ugatheatre.com/threefarces, via phone at 706-542-4400, or in person at the Performing Arts Center or Tate Center box offices.
A down-on-his-luck lawyer sets off an endless chain of deceit that backfires on him. A young husband turns a messy accident to his advantage. A foolish man attempts to sell a sack of peas, hampered by the worst memory ever. Featuring three comedic stories of negotiations gone awry, “Peas, Patelin, and Purgation” presents a modern twist on the time-honored tradition of medieval farces. Characterized by quick, witty banter, physical comedy, and misogynistic undertones, farcical theatre of the 15th and 16thcentury conventionally relied on all-male casts to convey its narratives. Director Marla Carlson has inverted this paradigm by casting all females in her production.
The title “Peas, Patelin, and Purgation” refers to three separate works: “The Farce of the Peas,” “The Farce of Master Pierre Patelin,” and “The Farce of the Washtub.” “Washtub” is a short comic gem about a young husband turns a messy accident to his advantage, ending an argument over who should do the housework. “Patelin” is widely recognized by medieval French scholars as the genre’s masterpiece. One of the most popular and influential plays of the 15th century, it tells the story of an old lawyer who sets off an endless chain of deceit that backfires.
UGA’s production of the third play “Farce of the Peas,” is an historic event: the play, recently discovered in a manuscript containing 74 plays from the city of Rouen, has not been performed in more than five hundred years. Mario Longtin, associate professor of French at the University of Western Ontario, is spearheading an effort to translate the plays for the first time into English. Longtin invited Carlson to co-translate the play to bring out its full comic potential and make it come alive for 21st century audiences.
According to Carlson, all of these works “play around with the related problems of living harmoniously with people when our needs conflict and negotiating with people who we don’t trust—problems as pressing now as they were when modern commerce and legal practice were taking shape in the late fifteenth century.”
Department head David Saltz says that this production “represents exactly what university theatre should be about, perfectly blending art and scholarship and providing audiences with an uproariously entertaining theatre experience that brings newly discovered historical artifacts to life.”
Following its premiere run at the University of Georgia, the production will travel to Genoa, Italy in July 2019 for a special performance at the sixteenth triennial colloquium of the Société Internationale pour l’Étude du Théâtre Médiéval (SITM).
Colinet, Thibault, Jaquinot – Alexa Adcock
Neighbor 1, Judge – Olivia Babuka-Black
Perrine, Wife – Savanah Hudson
Patelin – Brooke McCarthy
Neighbor 2, Guillemette – Kya Missick
Clothier, Mother-in-Law – Daja M. Rice
Get tickets at ugatheatre.com/threefarces
Alexa Adcock is a third-year Theatre major from Jackson, GA. She is currently portraying Colinet, Thbault, and Jacquinot in Peas, Patelin, and Purgation.
Have you done devised theatre before?
Yes! I played a character in Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. but that was my first experience.
What is it like to work in a show with this kind of process?
For me, it’s stressful! It’s a challenge with not having everything laid out in front of me. I don’t know exactly what the end goal is so I have to keep reminding myself just to continue playing and exploring the piece.
What farces are you in? Who do you play in each farce?
I’m in all three farces! In the Peas, I play Colinet. He’s a sweet, sweet, stupid boy. In Pathelin, I play Thilbault Aignelet. Thibault is a shepherd - guilty or not, he’s misunderstood! In the last farce, The Washtub, I play Jaquinot. He always gets the rotten end of the stick! He’s bitter and broken.
Are there any challenges to creating a character and acting in this type of show?
YES! You just have to keep working and playing and trying things. You can’t be TOO big, but you also can’t be naturalistic. You don’t want to get caught in one cookie cutter caricature, but you also need to keep what makes the audience laugh. There’s a lot of trial and error, and you have to force yourself not to get knocked down.
If you could describe this show in a few words, then what would you say?
The show is stupid, blasphemous, ridiculous, and amazingly fun!
These pieces were written centuries before our time, and one has not been performed in a few hundred years! Why do you think this play is important to today? What makes it relevant?
I think it’s a breath of fresh air! It helps us consider history when I think about why it was written. And it’s just fun!
Daniel Carter is a second-year MFA Design and Technology student. He is the costume designer for In The Blood.
What is your inspiration for your costume design for In the Blood?
This show has two worlds, the world of the displaced and the world of the settled. The homeless create their surroundings from items found or recieved. Throughout this show with Hester’s family, there are different articles of clothing created from items one would find on the street of an urban setting where the patterns and textures intentionally don’t match. Their clothes are designed as a level of protection and functionality. The world of those with money is different, each item has been hand picked, carefully tailored, and given bold and vivid colors. Their looks are designed for aesthetic.
How do you view each character, and what were your concepts for each of them?
In my mind, each of these characters is both a representation of an actual person Hester has interacted with, but the people also represents a function of our society. These functions are the homeless, medical, welfare, religion, friendship, and love.
The children were a unique challenge as they are played by Adults. Martin encouraged me to find each of the actor’s inner child. Their costumes allow them to play and move around the stage in a way that creates an alternate to their adult counterpart.
Why do you think this play is important to today? What makes it relevant?
Telling the story of the homeless on stage has been revealing and eye-opening. The policies and systems set up to aide and assist the impoverished are created by people who don’t understand what the homeless interact with on a day to day basis. Hester’s voice and her needs are so quickly dismissed by the people claiming to help her. Their focus is meeting their needs so they can leave as quick as possible.
I recognize the responsibility UGA has given me in designing this show. I have really tried to avoid stereotypes of the characters in this show recognizing I am not a person of color and a male. With the charge of Martin, the homeless in this show wear worn clothes, but not “dirty” clothes. Hester is a mother and watches over her children and cares for them. The choices she makes in this show pull so many emotions from me it is difficult to express.
If you could, then how can you briefly describe In the Blood in just a few words?
Raw, eye opening, powerful, emotional.
In the Blood opens February 15 in the Cellar Theatre. Tickets can be purchased at ugatheatre.com/blood
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