By Kelsey Wojdyla
There truly was something for everyone at the College’s spring musical, “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum.”
The musical comedy was performed by the student-run organization TCNJ Musical Theatre (TMT) in the Kendall Main Stage Theater this past week.
Based on the book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart and inspired by the works of the third-century Roman comic playwright Titus Maccius Plautus, “Forum” first opened on Broadway in 1962, where it won several Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical.The theatric show opened with Pseudolus, a Roman slave desperately seeking freedom, telling the audience that “the theater is a temple, and we are here to worship the gods of comedy and tragedy.” The curtain rose on an amusing second attempt to reveal three houses set in ancient Rome.In the first house lived the beautiful and exotic courtesans and their owner. Hero, the young son of a Roman senator, occupied the middle house while his parents were away visiting his grandmother. Finally, the house on the right was left vacant by an old man searching for his two children who were stolen as infants by pirates.
Comedy further ensues when Pseudolus learns that her owner, Hero, has fallen in love with a virgin courtesan. Pseudolus promises to help Hero win the girl in exchange for her own freedom, but a hysterical series of events bring about unexpected challenges to her plan.
“I think I’m more of a funny person than a serious one, so I felt pretty in my element,” said Molly Crawford, a senior management major who played the character of Pseudolus, which was originally written as a male role. “I was doing things that I would say or do in real life.”
The laughter, however, did not come from telling jokes, but by using classic slapstick comedy similar to that of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
The cast of “Forum” did anything and everything to make the audience laugh, as seen when the three proteans, who played multiple roles as slaves, citizens and soldiers, literally pulled props from a trunk of comedian tricks on stage. Overall, the comedic timing of the cast was perfectly executed.
“We really took the reigns on a bunch of different numbers that we weren’t planning to choreograph,” said Erica Paolucci, senior urban elementary education and iSTEM double major and co-choreographer for the play.
In the end, love prevails and there was a happy ending for all involved. “Forum” was pure fun, and the TMT cast and crew provided a more-than-entertaining escape from the real world as they sang, “Morals tomorrow! Comedy tonight!”