'Wintertime' a full-force farce

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In a moment of sheer mayhem with furniture being tossed about, plates thrown and glasses tossed, Edmund (played by Alex Cassidy) charges the sofa with wild-eyed fervor while Jonathan (Peter Richards) crawls off after one of numerous collisions with a tree during the play "Wintertime" at HJT. Director Jessica Cerullo, yellow shirt (behind Edmund), encourages the chaos with open arms. March 30, 2010

If you've had to sit through too many gloomy modern plays lately and you are in need of a sunny romance story to warm up your funny bone, "Wintertime" will shower you with 21/2 hours of nonstop laughter, Whitman College Director Jessica Cerullo said.

"If they (the audience) are alive, they will be laughing. It is a very funny play. So of all things, they will walk away laughing, and probably walk away reflecting on their own lives and their loves," Cerullo said.

Charles Mee's play is a romantic comedy that centers around a young man who brings his beloved to his family's summerhouse to propose marriage.

Unexpected chaos descends in the form of three other couples: His father and mother and their respective lovers and an elderly woman whose partner may be drowning.

The inevitable conflicts that derive from four couples who think they are getting away for a romantic week by themselves only to find out they all had the same destination in mind is only part of what makes Mee's play "wild and crazy." There are plenty of other theatrical surprises written into the work, Cerullo said.

There will be an indoor snowstorm, an occasional dance, a classical aria and even a bit of posterior nudity when the cast is called to moon each other throughout various parts of the production.

"I wouldn't take my 5-year-old to this show or my 8-year-old to this show ... It is not a children's show. But there is nothing terribly offensive ..." she added.

Cerullo, who is a visiting assistant professor of theater for the college, noted that the play might best be described as modern-day farce in a surreal setting.

The cast includes Peter Richards as Jonathan, a young man in love with Ariel; Morgan Patton as Ariel, the young woman in love with Jonathan; Talia Gottieb as Maria, Jonathan's mother; David Otten as Frank, Jonathan's father and Maria's husband; Tom Knook as Francois, Maria's French lover; Alex Cassidy as Frank's lover; Ryan Campeau as Bertha, the elderly woman next door; Justis James Phillips as Hilda, Bertha's lover; Ben Moore as Bob, a delivery man; and Michael Gianotti as Dr. Jacqueline Benoit, a French doctor.

So if you decide you need something a little different, with a lot of unpredictable humor, "Wintertime" may be just the ticket.

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