Steve Martin play catches fame with its pants down

DeKALB – Director Patricia Rutledge says the cast and crew of “The Underpants” has “laughed our way through rehearsals.”

“There are a lot of fun surprises along the way,” she said.

The Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance will present “The Underpants” Jan. 30 through Feb. 8 at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb, though the production is not affiliated with DeKalb School Dist. 428. NIU’s theater facilities are closed for renovation.

Adapted from Carl Sternheim’s classic farce “Die Hose” by renowned comedian and actor Steve Martin, “The Underpants” is a fast-paced comedy that will kick off the School of Theatre and Dance spring semester. 

Most well-known for his many comedic movies and television appearances, Martin is not quite as famous as a playwright. However, Ridge says, “You can certainly hear his voice in this.”

“The Underpants” tells the story of Louise and Theo Maske, a conservative couple living in Dusseldorf in 1910. He is an unimportant government clerk and she is an unappreciated housewife, but they are met with scandal and celebrity when Louise makes an accidental public display during a parade to honor the king. 

Martin’s quick wit and play on words sets the pace in this production, which runs an hour and 20 minutes with no intermission. With his unique brand of humor, Martin takes direct aim at the fleeting nature of fame and how scandal can either enhance or diminish a person’s standing in the world.

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