The setting is Priseaux, France, circa 1250 A.D. Four destitute monks in a local monastery are on the verge of starving. They need a miracle. And fast.
Who comes to their rescue? A one-eyed minstrel named Jack (yes, he is a one-eyed Jack) whose latest con causes quite the monastic mayhem.
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Thus begins Albright Theatre Company's production of "Incorruptible." This "dark comedy for the dark ages" opens Friday, March 3, and runs through Saturday, March 18, at the Batavia Government Center. Tickets are $12-$15.
"This is a high energy comedy," said Craig Gustafson, the show's director.
"The dialogue has a sharpness that is very Monty Python-ish/Blackadder-esque."
Gustafson had a hand in picking the play.
"I was on the play reading committee and I was familiar with 'Incorruptible,'" he added. "It is a very funny play with a bit of slapstick and a lot of verbal comedy."
Gustafson is a director in his element because of his experience in improv. And the script gives him plenty of opportunities for laughs.
The monastery's patron saint, Saint Foy, a 13-year-old girl martyred in the fourth century, is an incorruptible, a saint whose body has not decomposed. Some faiths believe that divine intervention allows some human bodies to avoid the normal process of decomposition after death as a sign of their holiness.
In the presence of these bones, the faithful pray for miracles. Unfortunately, St. Foy's relics haven't had a miracle in 13 years, and the monks are worried. Now a rival church claims to have the real bones of St. Foy and their bones are miracle-producing.
The monks hope a visit from the Pope will encourage the faithful to visit the monastery and make a donation to view the relics and request the saint's intercession for assistance.
Jack, the one-eyed minstrel, digs up some bones and cons the monks into thinking that the bones are holy relics. It doesn't take long for the monks to realize the money can be had from selling bones, even regular bones, as holy relics. It isn't long before the monks are operating quite a "chop shop."
"According to the playwright, Michael Hollinger, this often happened," said Gustafson.
The motley crew of characters in this play sets up the comedy, with Charles, the abbot, being a troubled soul and Brother Martin, testy and sarcastic. Add Brother Olf, a likable but a bit dimwitted monk, and Brother Felix, the excitable romantic, and the mix is chaotic.
Throw in a crafty minstrel, who has a beautiful shrewish dancer for a wife and a mother-in-law who is even more of a shrew.
The cast includes Galen Malick, Joel L. Greenblatt, Tom Rieser, Sterling Hurst, Kasandra Hesek, Chris Contreras, Marilyn Rockstroh and Brenda Scharlau. All are seasoned actors who are sure to give the audience an entertaining evening.
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