Anton Chekov's short stories about ordinary people willl be transformed into a hilarious comedy with music this week by the Marshall University Department of Theatre.
The Good Doctor will be presented at 8 p.m. nightly Wednesday, Nov. 10 through Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and MU faculty. Marshall students are admitted free with valid ID.
"Doctor" was written by Neil Simon based on Chekov's stories. The director, Clint McElroy, said the play has a lot of familiar Simon characteristics, but it's not a typical Simon show.
"It has all the laughs, the jokes, and the one-liners that Neil Simon has. But he went about it in a really different way," McElroy said. "He took these stories by Chekov and turned them into very funny-and very moving, in some cases-scenes."
Instead of one continuous story, the play is made up of a number of different scenes.
"It's like reading a book of short stories instead of a novel," McElroy said. However, there are themes that run throughout the play. "Much of it is all about the creative process and how writers come up with things," he said.
"There's music and a lot of humor, but it's all tied together from Chekov's experience," McElroy added. "It's all really tremendous."
McElroy said directing the production has been an amazing experience for him and he can't offer enough praise for both the actors and people behind the scenes.
"I've learned a lot. It's been very educational for me. Hopefully it's been educational for them too," he said.
"It's such a terrific opportunity to work with students that this is what they want to do and what they study for," he said. "And they're very creative."
McElroy is well-known in the Tri-State arts community for a number of roles he has played over the years, but he also enjoys the different challenges of being behind the scenes.
"As an actor, you focus on one role. A director has to have a vision of all these things," he said. "The director's job is to lay it out for people. Here's the challenge. How are you going to solve it?
"The theater is the most collaborative of all the arts. These people have really embraced that," McElroy said. "I love when actors bring their own interpretation. I don't think I've ever directed a show that turned out the way I thought. It always turns out better than I thought because you have all of these other people contributing," he said.
According to McElroy, "Doctor" is a show that can be enjoyed by all ages.
"It really is a wonderful evening," he said. "It's very funny. The dialogue absolutely jumps off the stage. And each one of the stories has a twist to it. It's the comedy version of The Twilight Zone.
"Anyone who comes is going to enjoy it. And who couldn't stand to have a few more laughs?" McElroy said.
To buy tickets or for more information, contact the Marshall Theatre box office at 304-696-2787.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
More About "The Good Doctor"
My pal Angela Henderson-Bentley files this story about Marshall's latest show, which takes the stage tonight: