Holy Cross’ Student-Run Alternate College Theatre Program to Present the Comedy ‘The Underpants’

The Alternate College Theatre (ACT), a student-run organization at the College of the Holy Cross, will present “The Underpants,” by Carl Sternheim, adapted by Steve Martin, directed by Savannah Plante ’16 and produced by Christopher Little ’17. The play is a modern take on the classic farce about a young wife who loses her bloomers at an inopportune moment and the ensuing chaos that occurs. Performances will be held in Fenwick Theatre, located on the second floor of O’Kane Hall, on Dec. 3-5 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $7 for members of the Holy Cross community and $10 for the general public and can be reserved by calling the ACT box office at 508-793-3536.

“The Underpants” is the most recent adaptation of the 1910 German Farce “Die Hose” written by the German playwright Carl Sternheim. It was adapted by Martin in 2002 and produced at New York City’s off-Broadway theater Classic Stage Company.  The play follows Louise Maske and her husband Theo after her underpants accidentally fall down at the King’s parade in Dusseldorf, Germany. Frank Versati and Benjamin Cohen arrive at the couple’s home to chase their sudden love for Louise under the pretense of renting the Maske’s spare bedroom. Hilarity and chaos ensue as Louise and her best friend Gertrude come up with a plan to entertain the guests.

“The Underpants” will be Plante’s first full length show as director. A double major in history and theatre from Boylston, Mass., Plante has extensive experience in theater working in many of the College’s past performances as stage manager or designer. She has directed a short 10-minute piece as well as a half-hour performance of the first act of Thoron Wilder’s “The Skin of Our Teeth.”  Plante says “Overall, this experience has been incredible.” She further explains, “I have never been so attracted to something that is this much work. The theatre professors supply a wonderful support system with their open door policy and willingness to stay late on weeknights to watch a run and give notes.” Plante praises the extensive efforts the all-student cast has put into the performance, saying that “it has been wonderful seeing this show come together piece by piece with each passing week.”

For Hannah Gabriel ’17, a double major in classics and theatre from Forty Fort, Pa., “The Underpants” will be the third ACT show she has worked on during her time at the College. “Working with Savannah has been incredible,” Gabriel says. “In addition to being extremely talented and innovative, she’s also a joy to work with in every rehearsal. Everyone working on this production is motivated and entirely committed to seeing it succeed.”

ACT is one of the largest and oldest student groups at the College. ACT provides a venue for students – both theatre majors and non-majors – to put their skills to work. Students are responsible for all aspects of production – directing, designing, and producing, as well as performing.  The theatre department provides artistic advice and technical supervision.

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