Laughing all the way: Theatre department’s Christmas present is three comedic pieces

With performances of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, local favorite Farley Family X-Mas and student-produced Holiday Night Live, comedy marks the month of December in the theatre department.

Much Ado About Nothing, the love story of the ever-bickering Beatrice and Benedick, is directed by John Graham. This time, it has been set during the Mexican Revolution. With guitarists, Spanish phrases and war-ready women, it is a unique production of this well-beloved classic.

The show’s strength lies in the acting. The actors portray their characters as highly expressive, both through word and body language. By using strong physicality to compliment the verbal humor, the plot becomes twice as funny and makes it easier to understand what is going on if one loses track of the Shakespearian language.

In addition, the costumes and set are carefully thought out and add a dimension of depth to the story. The bullet holes in the walls and the ammunition that both women and men carry at all times remind the audience that this is a time of war; and as they say, all’s fair in love and war.

“FARLEY FAMILY X-MAS is an antidote for the sugary saccharin holiday blues that a lot of people get into,” explained James Arrington, the creator and star of this one-man show. “Christmas is so wonderful, so warm, so sweet. You need something to punch you in the jaw and this is it.”

The show, has audiences returning year after year, features a cast of hilarious characters such as Aunt Pearl, Uncle Heber, Qweezel Dean the wrestler, Fayreen the cheerleader and little Tiffany with the big prayers.

In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the show, Arrington is receiving the Ragan Theater Showcase Merit Award for his artistic excellence.

Holiday Night Live is musical theatre and Saturday Night Live mixed into a comedy fix that students can enjoy between studying for finals. The vast majority of sketches are written by the students as part of a class that teaches them how to create a show from scratch.

“When they leave here … they know the process,” explained instructor Dave Tinney. “Because we all know comedy is the hardest thing to put together.”
According to Tinney, this year’s repertoire is well thought out and “really funny.” With a whole semester for workshopping and development, it is a promising run of a popular student favorite.

For a complete schedule of dates, prices and locations, visit

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