When a deserter from the Russian army stumbles upon the Polish village of Chelm he quickly realizes things aren’t quite right.
For one, the villagers set pickled herring free in the local river hoping to one day catch them and sell them. Then there’s the feuding couple that try to sell peach schnapps laced with garlic.
But it’s the silly nature of John Lazarus’s farce that attracted the Thompson Rivers University Actors Workshop Theatre to Village of Idiots.
“This is a very sweet comedy. It’s very good,” said Robin Nichol, the play’s director and an associate professor with TRU’s Faculty of Arts.
Village of Idiots kicks off the Actors Workshop’s 2012-2013 theatre season on Thursday, Oct. 11. Nichol promises audiences they are in for something a bit removed from her past productions.
“It’s a style of Jewish humour that’s very self-deprecating and very illogical,” she said. “They always take the illogical view and very irrational view and problems manage to get solved anyway.”
Which is in contrast to the serious and often heavy themes of many of Nichol’s other work. This time, she wanted to try something different, and a physical comedy with a 17-character cast and gentle love story seemed like just the ticket.
“It’s a physical farce. A farce with heart,” said Nichol.
Fourth-year theatre major Kelsey Gilker plays Miriam, the village maiden who plays tour guide to Yosef, the Russian deserter played by Jared Raschke.
She said Miriam catches Yosef’s eye, which is one of the reasons he ends up staying in Chelm. She’s also the one halfway normal person among the Village of Idiots.
“You won’t find a lot of humour coming from me,” she said, adding the play is still very funny. “There’s a lot of slapstick and running around. Lots of entrances and exits. It’s very fast paced.”
Village of Idiots runs Oct 11 to 13 and Oct. 18 to 20 at 8 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre at TRU’s Old Main Building. There’s a matinee on Friday, Oct. 12 at 11:30 a.m.
Tickets are $12 and can be reserved through the theatre box office by phoning 250-377-6100, Kamloops Live! Box Office at 250-374-5483, or online at kamloopslive.ca.
Nichol said there’s a dinner theatre show on Saturday, Oct. 13, with TRU Culinary Arts offering a deluxe buffet prior to the performance. Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are $60. For more information, or to make a reservation, phone 250-828-5354.