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Hotel Paradiso

Southern Oregon University's Theatre Arts department presents "Hotel Paradiso" by Georges Feydeau and Maurice Desvallieres on March 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. with a matinee on Saturday, March 10 at 2 p.m. The English translation of the script is by Peter Glenville. All performances will be held in the Center Stage Theatre.

In the play, an advertisement for the Hotel Paradiso recommends it "to people who are married. Together or separately," and so, a prominent businessman arranges an assignation there with his best friend's wife. Coincidentally, his best friend is staying at the same hotel to inspect its safety. Things are turned topsy-turvy by morning as the leading characters instigate mistaken identities to avoid stumbling upon each other.

"Feydeau once commented that his job as a playwright was to take two characters who should never meet and, as quickly as possible, throw them together in a locked room," says director Dennis Smith. "Farce requires absolutely clockwork timing at breakneck speed, and then maybe no one will notice the silliness of the plot."

Lampooning stereotypical characters, especially fools and buffoons, is a theatrical device used for centuries in theatre. French playwrights like Georges Feydeau perfected action-driven farces that accelerate plausible situations into absurdity. Feydeau particularly liked to set the action in a middle-class household with a duplicitous spouse. He is known for his elaborate stage sets which operate in a "jack-in-the-box" manner.

Orion Bradshaw plays Boniface, Amanda Long plays Mme. Boniface, Hardy Pinnell plays Cot, best friend to Boniface, and Luci Bedell plays Mme. Cot.

The play's director, SOU Professor Dennis Smith, acted in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of "A Flea in Her Ear" by Feydeau, as well as directing it for the SOU Theatre Arts department in 1991. Smith has directed in the SOU Theatre Arts department since 1985, as well as directing productions for the Rogue Opera, Britt Festivals, Oregon Cabaret Theatre, and Lyric Theatre.

Tickets are $17 regular admission, $14 senior, and $5 student and are available at the door or by calling the SOU Theatre Arts Box Office at 552-6348.