Theatre Fairfield launches 2007-2008 season with "We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!"


Fairfield University's Theatre Fairfield, the resident student theatrical company, presents its first production of the 2007-2008 season, Nobel Prize-winning playwright Dario Fo's "We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!" translated by Ron Jenkins. Performances are at the Wien Experimental Theater at The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts and will run on Wednesday, October 31 through November 3 at 8 p.m. with matinees on Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4 at 2 p.m.

Guest artist and professional clown Adam Gertsacov directs "We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!" Gertsacov is a Clown Laureate, P.T. Barnum impersonator, a flea circus impresario and a professor at the University of Rhode Island. His unusual background as a master of physical comedy brings a unique perspective to the piece. Elaborating on his concept for the show, Gertsacov explained, "We want to expose the audience to a different type of theatre. Although everything that happens on stage is based in the reality of human behavior, this show is anything but naturalistic."

"We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!" is a farce with a message. Intertwined with uproarious humor and outlandish physical comedy are socialist themes and a belief in the common man. However, in Fo's eyes it seems that the common man is the uncommon person. The characters are willing to stand up and question authority, before they fall in line with society.

The play is set in a town where the prices have been raised astronomically high, where no one can afford to pay the rent, the electricity, the gas; they barely even have any money for food. Thus, the townspeople decide to take matters into their own hands. Antonia (Colleen Kennedy '09) and Margherita (Sarah Zybert '09) cause a riot at the grocery store, when they refuse to pay such high prices for groceries. They leave, paying little to nothing at all for their groceries. From this premise, a hilarious farce unravels.

The women try to hide their stolen food from their law-abiding husbands, Giovanni (Evan Barden '08) and Luigi (Nick Phillips '11), as well as from the police. As a last resort, the desperate women (and eventually their husbands) hide the food within their clothing, giving the illusion that some of the characters are pregnant. Barden comments, "It's a crazy, wild and fun comedy. It's like watching a sitcom on stage! Yet, it's even more interesting because underlying it all is a socialist message."

The action takes place on an elaborate set that resembles a trailer park and unconventionally incorporates the entire theatre. "We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!" literally overflows into the audience, advancing the idea that this situation is one that resonates with many, and is not only restricted to the characters in the play.

While it was written over 30 years ago, Fo's work continues to speak to the human spirit. With organic humor that can be appreciated on several levels, he engages the audience with the struggle between the stereotypical "little guy" whose needs are overshadowed by ever-growing corporations. The conglomerates erect self-protective barriers causing individuals to suffer, but this play celebrates the moment when citizens stand up for their rights. These are situations with which society can still identify.

Tickets are $12 for general admission; $6 for seniors & university staff; and $5 for students. Tickets are now available online at www.quickcenter.com or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010.  The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Visit the website at www.quickcenter.com for further information.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 10, 2007

Vol. 40, No. 73