Text Only Skip to content
Skip header navigation.
Skip sub-section linksSTLCC Home » College News » 2011 » April » Farce 'What the Butler Saw' to be Presented at Forest Park April 21-23

Farce 'What the Butler Saw' to be Presented at Forest Park April 21-23

April 12, 2011

'What the Butler Saw' farce to be presented

From left, Chuck Brinkley, Nicole Angeli, Doug Hettich, Macia Noorman, John Foughty and Brennan Eller (under cart).

A nimble veteran cast takes a trip deep into the Id, Ego and Superego of modern comedy in "What the Butler Saw," to be presented four times April 21-23 by St. Louis Community College-Forest Park.

Performances are free and open to the public; it is suggested for mature audiences. Showtime is at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 21-23, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in the Mildred E. Bastian Center for the Performing Arts, 5600 Oakland Ave.

This 1967 farce was the last work of Joe Orton, a cynic known for his dark wit in such plays as "Loot," who was hailed as the next Oscar Wilde before his untimely death at age 34. He was murdered by his mentally unstable lover, who then took his own life. "What the Butler Saw" was posthumously produced, with Sir Ralph Richardson in the title role, in 1969, and was not well-received.

Orton peered into the world of a private psychiatric clinic, where cross-dressing, straight-jackets, mistaken identities and hilariously botched attempts at seduction were the essential elements of entertainment. Because he chose to poke fun at psychiatry in such a shocking manner, the controversial play was considered offensive, and only in later years, did it find an audience who was amused by the antics.

"It was a bitter pill of reality wrapped in sugar," commented director Suki Peters. She directed the  black comedy before in Los Angeles, and wanted to present it here.  Peters, a renowned award-winning local director, finds both the challenge of the playwright's verbal dexterity as well as the physical comedy appealing to showcase the skills of her cast, a highly regarded group of talented performers who have worked regionally in professional and community theater groups. They portray  a lecherous psychiatrist, his nymphomaniac wife, a fanatical government official, a naïve young girl, a smarmy black-mailing bellhop and a bumbling sergeant.

John Foughty is Dr. Prentice, who has a talent for bungling already sticky situations, while Nicole Angeli is his sharp-tongued wife. Macia Noorman is Dr. Prentice's secretary Geraldine Barclay, Brennan Eller plays the bellhop Nicholas Beckett and Doug Hettich is incompetent and pompous Dr. Rance. Chuck Brinkley is the goofball Sergeant Match. They all have strong improvisational backgrounds, and are used to the show's physical demands.

"The language is a lot of fun," Brinkley said.

"With each line, you know there is a joke in there, and you have to find it," Hettich said.

"It's like reality-based sketch comedy," Foughty said. "It's a cross between 'Are You Being Served' and 'Fawlty Towers.'"

"It's a wonderful show," Peters said. "The cast has a lot of fun with it."