October 3, 2019 – Theatre Santa Fe will present “Unnecessary Farce,” a fun, fast-paced physical comedy, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, Oct. 17-19, in the Fine Arts Hall on Santa Fe College’s Northwest Campus.
Tickets are $15 for adults; $9 for University of Florida students with a UF identification card, seniors over 60, and children 12 and under; $5 for Santa Fe College (SF) students with an SF identification card; and free for Santa Fe College faculty, staff and retirees with a valid SF identification card. For information or tickets, call 352-395-4181 or visit sfcollege.edu/finearts.
With a script by the writer and actor Paul Slade Smith—who has appeared on Broadway in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Finding Neverland”—“Unnecessary Farce” involves two policemen working a sting operation when the crime they are investigating turns out to be something quite different that involves mistaken identities. “Unnecessary Farce” has won nine regional theatre awards.
“I don’t see many farces any more but I’m not sure why,” said Theatre Professor Russell Schultz, who is directing the play. “I love plays that have a message, but sometimes I just want to laugh!”
Schultz explained that producing a farce, or physical comedy, involves a lot of work by the seven students in the cast. “Physical comedy is hard! You almost have to be a ballroom dancer, a wrestler and an endurance athlete all in one,” he said. “This is a short play, but the action is go-go-go the whole time.”
Cast members include students in the SF Theatre Department as well as students from other departments on campus. “Some of our cast members are students who simply love to perform,” Schultz said. “We also have new students who don’t have a lot of experience seeing plays. They may be afraid to express their opinions or they may feel that they don’t have the vocabulary they need to discuss plays. They need to learn how to watch a play and be engaged, and the easiest way to teach these things and encourage discussion is with comedy. I love the energy when students begin to gain confidence in expressing their opinions!”
According to Schultz, that is the same kind of confidence that employers value in the workplace. “The arts, of course, are important in and of themselves, because they give us ways to engage with our culture and help us answer big questions such as ‘Why are we here?,’” he said. “But another reason the arts are important is that they help to develop what I call the intangibles—the abilities to think beyond the committee, to engage in creative problem solving, to work independently and generate ideas, to justify those ideas and communicate them effectively, and to be attentive to deadlines. Students develop those intangible qualities in theatre classes, where you have to deal with ambiguity and problems and maybe even learn from how your director deals with stress!”
Other people working on “Unnecessary Farce” include Owen Reynolds, the technical director; lighting designer Elizabeth Ann Reynolds; set designer Scott Wirtz-Olsen; and costume designer Chris Takashima.