‘Two Guvnors’ twice the fun at Ethington
Story by Ashlee Larrison
Photos by David Kadlubowski
GCU News Bureau
What do you get when you combine the professional, serious approach of theatre with some of the comedic elements used to create beloved shows such as “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”? You would get Grand Canyon University Theatre Department’s newest production of Richard Bean’s British comedy, “One Man, Two Guvnors,” which opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday for a two-weekend run at Ethington Theatre.
According to the production’s director, theatre instructor Michael Kary, it’s a great way to launch the 2019-2020 theatre season.
“It’s just a super silly comedy, and so it’s a lot of fun and it’s just an excuse to have fun,” Kary said. “It is a completely accessible play to people who are 5 years old to 95 years old.”
The plot centers around a man named Francis Henshall and how he juggles working for two employers. It showcases the lengths Henshall will go to, no matter how hilarious, to keep his employers from finding out about each other.
“He is the kind of person who is thinking about a million different things all at once,” said Micah Larsen, who plays the role of Francis. “The whole show is about him trying to figure out how to handle both stresses in both areas.”
The play adds a comedic tone to the idea of someone juggling multiple responsibilities, and Larsen feels like his “character can be relatable to students, too.”
“We are a college campus, and a lot of college students find themselves nowadays with too much stress and last-minute procrastination,” Larsen said. “The show’s all about a guy who procrastinates and can’t handle the stress, and so I think every college student could definitely be able to relate to that.”
The show will utilize the classic art form of stock characters, which are unfamiliar characters with familiar character tropes within a story, to provide a familiar yet all-new experience for audiences.
“It’s people we all know and recognize, so it’s very funny when things go wrong to them because it relates to our own life in that way,” said Brandon Brown, who portrays Stanley Stubbers, one of the two “guvnors.”
The production is the first in a season full of comedies and a performance that Brown says will be different from anything the department has done in a while.
Paige Duhon, who plays the role of Rachel on select nights of the show’s run (Samantha Johnson will take on the role on other nights), can attest to that difference, too.
“I was in ‘Who Will Carry the Word?’ last year, which went in the completely opposite direction,” Duhon said. “It’s been quite a dramatic shift.”
It has been a shift that has allowed the Theatre Department to learn and play with new styles of acting. As with most learning experiences, that shift hasn’t always been easy, but the cast accepted the challenge with ease.
“It’s a different style of acting from what we normally do here at school, so it’s been a hard learning experience for some of them, but there’s never a moment where we’re not laughing in rehearsal,” Kary said. “They rarely get to do something as silly as this, so they’ve just really dove right in.”
Although being described as a “silly comedy,” Kary said there will be no dip in quality from the theatre’s more serious productions.
“We take it just as seriously, which is kind of silly,” Kary said. “It really doesn’t feel that different.”
The production will showcase fast-paced humor, slapstick comedy, recognizable tunes, a fun interchangeable set and multiple instances of audience interaction and participation.
“I think the fact that it’s so larger than life and absurd at times makes it really fun,” Duhon said.
Absurd as it may be, it is a performance the cast said audiences won’t want to miss.
“It’s very funny. I will go as far as to say I’ve never been part of a show that is funnier than this one,” Larsen said. “There’s a laugh at every turn, so if that’s not good enough reason to come out and laugh a little, I don’t know what is.”
IF YOU GO
What: “One Man, Two Guvnors” by Richard Bean
When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 1
Where: Ethington Theatre
Tickets: $12 admission. Discounted tickets for senior citizens, military personnel, GCU and GCE employees, GCU alumni, children 12 years old and younger, and GCU students.
Information: 602-639-8800 or [email protected]
Contact GCU staff writer Ashlee Larrison at [email protected] or at 602-639-8488.