Demolition Tomorrow, Comedy Tonight

Published on 01 April 2015

“Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight” is the familiar refrain of a song from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which is in preparations by the theater department at St. Louis College of Pharmacy. The song takes on additional meaning because Whelpley Hall, where the performance will be held, is scheduled to be demolished in a few months.

“We’re going out with a bang,” says P3 student Nathan Wesche, who plays the main character, Pseudolus. In rehearsals actors are focusing on the discipline needed to pull off a farce, which includes characters entering and leaving the stage with perfect timing. The production also includes a detailed set and the return of a pit orchestra after an absence of many years.

“It’s bittersweet,” says P2 student Elizabeth Lemma, cast as Domina. “We’ll soon have a new building with better facilities but there are a lot of memories in Whelpley.”

In the fall, theater productions will make use of a 400-seat auditorium inside the College’s new 213,000-square foot academic and research building and library. For two decades, the College has staged numerous musicals, plays, choral and musical performances in Whelpley Auditorium.  To mark these final performances in Whelpley, invitations are being extended to College alumni who have taken part in past productions.

“We want to honor them,” Lemma says. “This is a very big deal.”

Forum, which pokes fun at ancient Rome, is described as hilarious, inappropriate, and not exactly kid friendly. Befitting a farce, it can become very chaotic on stage at times.

“We’ll be the last hurrah,” Wesche adds.  

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