‘Incorruptible’ will open Friday at WLT
Winchester — Get-rich-quick schemes were a little different in the Middle Ages.
It is 1250 A.D. and the monastery in Priseaux, France, has been hit with hard times. The bones of patron St. Foy haven’t produced a miracle in 13 years, and as a result, the pilgrims aren’t coming any more. That means the money has stopped flowing.
But when the monks are offered a possible solution, what follows — in theWinchester Little Theatre’s production of Michael Hollinger’s farce “Incorruptible” — will tickle the audience’s funny bones, Director Sara Gomez said.
“They need a saint that will produce miracles so they can take care of the poor,” she said. “Then we learn how they make their money — selling bones as relics.”
The play will be presented from Friday to Nov. 10, Nov. 14-17 and Nov. 21-23 in the theater at 315 W. Boscawen St. Curtain times are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Tickets cost $18.75 for adults, $16.75 for seniors and $14.50 for students.
A cast of eight will bring to life the story of “a one-eyed minstrel, creative marketing, reunited lovers and a funny bunch of monks,” Gomez said.
The monks’ plan is based on actual historical practices of selling bones as relics, she said.
For a while, the plan works and money starts coming in. But when the monks must produce an “incorruptible,” or a body of a saint that resists decay, things get a little tougher, Gomez said.
“Michael Hollinger has intriguing dialogue, fascinating storylines, and he does his research,” she said. “He even included the wheelbarrow, which was introduced in Europe in the mid-1200s.”
The idea for the scheme comes from Jack, a one-eyed minstrel who is disillusioned with the church, reluctant to commit to his girlfriend, and has “ultimate longterm goals of a bakery in Paris,” said Ray Kaderli of Stephenson, who plays the wandering entertainer.
The production also shows different sides of people as the characters progress, he said. While the audience members start by laughing at the characters’ antics, by the end they will be laughing with them.
“It allows you to be cynical and humorous without being too cynical,” he said. “It is a fun way for we humans to laugh at ourselves.”
“Incorruptible” is a farce with heart, said Bill Taylor of Hedgesville, W.Va., who plays Brother Martin. The monk has been in the order for 30 years and has become cynical about life and people. Ever practical, he spearheads the scheme to make money for the monastery.
“There are lots of little twists all along the way. It is certainly not the setting you think of for a farce — set in the Middle Ages in a monastery,” Taylor said.
Brother Martin’s complete opposite is Charles, the abbot of the monastery, played by Randy Moulton of Winchester. He describes Charles as a “salt of the earth” man who came to the monastery when he was young to help restore his faith.
“Charles has had a real crisis of conscience with getting sucked into the whole thing of selling bones,” he said. “I think he realizes it is a means to an end of fulfilling the mission of the monastery, which is to help the poor.”
Taylor said he appreciates that Hollinger explores the question of where faith comes from and how it can disappear.
The play has a great deal of dark humor and some slapstick, Moulton said. What makes it funnier is that the actors deliver the lines with such earnestness. “The nature of the dialogue and the delivery is what makes it really funny and kind of ridiculous.”
The costume designer for the show is Heather O’Brien.
The setting for the production is the chapter house at the monastery, which has faux stone walls and period lighting and is adorned with books, scrolls and religious accoutrements. It was created by set designer Nate Windle and is lit by lighting designer Tom Schultz.
Winchester Little Theatre’s production of “Incorruptible” will be presented from Friday to Nov. 10, Nov. 14- 17, and Nov. 21-23 in the theater at 315 W. Boscawen St. Tickets cost $18.75 for adults, $16.75 for seniors and $14.50 for students.
— Contact Laura McFarland at firstname.lastname@example.org