Watch this sneak peek into the Big Fish rehearsals. New cast members share their experiences with dancing!
Art in the Making!
October 06, 2017
The students of Poplar Pike Playhouse are hard at work preparing for this season’s fall play, Is He Dead? The satirical comedy, written by Mark Twain and adapted by David Ives, follows the fictional version of the great french painter Jean Francois Millet. Millet is strugglingto sell his paintings and pay back a cynical art dealer. Comedy ensues when he goes to great lengths for fame and fortune.
While the cast rehearses each week, just as much preparation is happening off stage. Technical crews are in full swing as costumes are sewn, sets are built, and so much more!
“Attire in this era was very, very elaborate,” says costume designer Eula Ashbee. Is He Dead? calls for clothes from the late 1800’s, meaning the costumes, especially dresses, can be rather ornate. “The era itself has proven to be a challenge, but a fun one where the costume crew can be creative in making the details.”
Master Carpenter Jason Harris has been hard at work with his crew as they built the set over the past couple of weeks. “The set is like a puzzle that we have to put together,” he says. “The only difference is that we have to build the puzzle pieces as well. So, as set builders, we have to pay careful attention to every element.”
The Poplar Pike Playhouse props crew is also getting creative in meeting certain challenges, according to props chairman Christian Powell. “Many of the props we need for the show we have to make from scratch because they’re so unique.” The crew is using special techniques to make the props look time appropriate. “It’s really great to see the final product, knowing that we created it.”
While initially working separately, all the departments are starting to work together as tech week approaches. From the details on the poster to the color of a wig, ideas are coming to fruition. Slowly but surely, all of these moving parts are finding the way onto the newly renovated Poplar Pike Playhouse stage, and Is He Dead? is almost ready for an audience.
Is He Dead? runs October 26 through November 4. Tickets are on sale now at the Poplar Pike Playhouse! Call the Box Office at (901) 755-7775 or visit PPP.org.. Adult tickets are $15.00 and student tickets are $12.00. To keep up with the latest news, follow the Playhouse on Facebook, Instagram (@poplarpikeplahouse), or Twitter (@ppptheatre).
The Poplar Pike Playhouse is the theatre complex located on the campus of Germantown High School.
PPP Takes On “Dead-Pan” Humor
October 03, 2017
Is He Dead? is the latest production to hit the Poplar Pike Playhouse. The play, originally written by Mark Twain and adapted by David Ives, tackles the outrageously ridiculous yet satirical humor of the life of a painter.
The play introduces us to Jean-Francois Millet, an actual French painter, who finds himself in situations full of hijinks and misunderstandings. “For part of the play, I am a woman. This is a lot harder than I initially thought,” says actor Kyle Bowers. “There are a lot of feminine mannerisms I wasn’t aware of and ladies shoes are not comfortable.” While this mistaken identity is comical, the additional cast of wacky characters, absurd situations, and jokes galore promises that audiences will certainly “die” laughing.
The style of Is He Dead? pokes fun at the seriousness of melodramatic, classic theatre. While the show may not be well-known, the topic, main character, and type of humor are entertaining and widely appreciated. “I think that the characters in Is He Dead? lend themselves to the old vaudeville style of classic villain, damsel in distress, and of course the classic slapstick a la the Three Stooges,” says Jeff White, the play’s director. The over-dramatic personalities of old Vaudeville characters turn into comedic material on the PPP stage, with each of the show’s wild characters representing a certain stereotype. There are quite frequent direct references to the physicality of entertainers like Charlie Chaplain and Buster Keaton. Though this show has no music, the excessive physical comedy requires coordinated choreography to achieve the perfect timing. “Physical comedy is very unique,” says actor Andrew Heady. “It keeps me on my feet the entire time I’m on stage.” This tried and true style of comedy with a modern twist is sure to be a side-splitting hit as the PPP races toward opening night.
Tickets for Is He Dead? are on sale now! The show runs October 26- November 4 at the Poplar Pike Playhouse. Visit ppp.org, or call PPP Box Office at (901) 755-7775 for more information. Follow the PPP on Facebook (@poplarpikeplayhouse) or Twitter (@ppptheatre) for updates and special coupon codes.