A Comedy Tonight: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Written by Zhenbang Wu.

“Something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone — a comedy tonight!”

On 18 October 2018, A comedy named “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” was performed at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Before I watched the comedy, I did a google search and found that this show was originally made in 1962, which is almost sixty years ago! Considering the speed of change happening in modern society, I was actually quite worried about whether this comedy would still be “comedy” after such a long time. However, as Pseudolus, one of the main characters, a Roman slave came on the stage, all my worries were eliminated at once.

Before the play actually began, Pseudolus stepped on to the stage but found that the light was focused on the other side. She then “whispered” to the backstage with amusing body languages and expressions, which brought the audiences into the mood of comedy in a few seconds.

As the stage curtain raised, the main stage showed up in front of the audience, which was made so delicately. The buildings, the streets, and the statue (which turned out to be my favorite part of the comedy later) are so vivid which made us feel that as if we were in the 19 century Rome. 

Among all the characters and plots, my most favorite one was the statue character (yes the statue is acted by a real person!). I didn’t realize that the statue was a real person until “it” suddenly move. After that, I couldn’t help but always check what her (the statue) actions were. Sometimes she stood there elegantly as if she were a real statue in Rome, sometimes she threw up her hands, and sometimes she even wore her sunglasses on! When the plot was amusing, she looked relaxed; and when the plot was intensive, she seemed to be as anxious as the “real” characters in the play. I found it interesting to consider that she was kind of like an audience sitting in the middle of the stage, watching the whole plat, and gave her reaction as we, the normal audience did. And every audience could see her as a reflection of themselves.

What’s more, the background music, the lyrics, and the lights cooperated so well. Although the play was made in the mid of 19s, I still found it really amusing and interesting. I didn’t watch original play, but I am sure that the staffs behind the comedy must make a lot of changes and innovations to adapt it to the modern world, and bring us a really great “comedy tonight”!

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