By Navid Faryar
A horny teen falls in love with a virgin beauty living in the Roman whorehouse next door. His dad mistakes her for a new maid and thinks he has a shot. His mom is an annoying wench to boot. It could be funny.
Free time is usually a controversial issue for all students. In the end, everyone wants to have fun. And what people have forgotten is that laughter directly equates to fun. Simply put, if one laughs, then he or she… is HAVING FUN. It’s seriously time for students to leave the social norm behind and broaden their horizons. And they don’t have to look further than Brookdale to get a rip-roaring laugh that they can relate to.
The Performing Arts Center rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” performed six times from March 2-11, was a hysterical representation of the home of a Roman senator, Senex, and the family and slaves that make it an absolute riot.
The story is told by Pseudolus, slave to Senex’s son, Hero, who has fallen in love with Philia, a virgin belonging to their neighbor, Marcus Lycus, a Roman pimp who oversees the brothel next door. Hero’s instant infatuation for Philia is comparable to that of Romeo and Juliet, but he is faced with an obstacle. Lycus has sold his love to a Roman army captain.
Hero dispatches his furtive slave, Pseudolus, to create a diversion to allow the new lovers an escape, promising Pseudolus his freedom if the venture is successful. But the road to romance awaits a number of speed bumps as the captain approaches and as Hero’s father Senex mistakes the young virgin as his maid, fit to oblige his perverted desires, in spite of his pain-in-the-ass wife.
Pseudolus must use every resource at his disposal to make sure the two, young lovers are able to escape. He teams primarily with Hysterium (Latin for Hysterical or anxious), a fellow servant lacking the stomach for secrets and disobedience. Together, they are able to overcome the captain and a foolish Senex to allow Hero and Philia to run away together, free to love each other eternally.
Now, it may sound like a run-of-the-mill romantic musical, especially to students who think they might be too cool to attend, but what those students need to focus on are the main themes of the play: love and sex. This play focuses on the pubescent desires of a teenage boy to have wild sex with a virgin living in the Roman whorehouse next door and the drama and comedy that accompanies such volatility are the still the cornerstones of intersexual relations today.
The bulk of the comic load is carried by Pseudolus and Hysterium, two slaves, played by independent actor Roman Sohor and 21-year-old Brookdale student Cody Goold, respectively. The duo, under the guide of director Chris Tomaino, must trick a Roman captain to an inch of their lives while entertaining the promiscuousness of their aging, horny and wide-eyed master, who thinks he’s going to sleep with a teenage virgin.
Sohor, a spitting image of comic gem John Belushi, along with Cody Goold, easily the most promising act on the stage, play marvelously off of one another, as Pseudolus hatches a plan, and Hysterium panics to carry out his orders and keep it together in the face of adversity.
“My friend made me come here with him. I played quarterback in high school and lived in a world completely separated from the arts, but I can honestly say that I haven’t laughed this much or this hard in a long time,” said Scott Anacker, 25, who was taken aback by his own reaction.
For the most part, young adults spend their weekends scouring about looking for parties to attend with their friends. It would be fair to say that a lot these gatherings end up with the same storyline: people huddled up in groups, sipping cups, listening to the awful music of today, and talking about the other groups of huddled people they see.
The Performing Arts Center gives students an edgy way to be old school and original while laughing their butts off and probably having more fun than they would anywhere else.