Turning Bratton into Brighton: CTC Takes on ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’

Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2019 season brings a variety of shows to the table.

Their first play, The Christians, presented audiences with a deep and introspective look at questions of faith and family. Recently, their first New Play Workshop show, How the Light Gets In, portrayed an unexpected love story with a message that flaws are what make people unique. The upcoming two NPW shows, On the Exhale and Agent 355, will give audiences a powerful look at the aftermath of gun violence and an exciting musical about a female spy in the Revolutionary War, respectively.

As for Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors

“It’s going to be really, really funny,” said Sarah Clare Corporandy, CTC managing director.

The show, CTC’s second mainstage performance of the season, opens at 8 p.m. tonight, Juky 26, in Bratton Theater and runs until Aug. 11. Corporandy said audiences are in for a humorous, energetic, electric experience.

“(Audience members) are going to have a lot of laughs,” Corporandy said. “It’s going to be very physical, musical, funny, joyful and just a good time.”

One Man, Two Guvnors takes the audience back to the 1960s, and across the pond to Brighton, England. It follows a recently unemployed musician, Francis Henshall, as he precariously balances working for two different employers while trying to keep this fact hidden from both of them. To make things worse, the employers know one another, and Francis soon finds himself caught up in a complex web of comedic scenarios.

Alex Morf, a CTC alumnus from 2006 and 2007, is returning to the grounds to take on the role of Francis. Morf said the show is going to give Chautauquans something unlike anything they’ve seen from CTC before.

“I think it’s going to be a little wilder than some of the shows that people are used to,” Morf said. “There’s improv every night that keeps it changing every time, there’s a lot of physical comedy and some amazing effects alongside some really good music throughout.”

The show features a live skiffle band every night that will play Beatles-inspired music to help transform modern-day Bratton into 1960s Brighton. Before each show, the band will play a short concert so that anyone looking to find an early seat will have something to groove along to prior to the play.

“It’s a big show to pull off in two weeks, but it’s going to be so much fun,” Morf said.

Amidst the chaos and comedy of the show, One Man Director Andrew Borba said the play has more to offer than slapstick humor.

“The show features a lot of big humor, and a lot of physical comedy, but at no point does it ever feel mean,” Borba said. “It’s very warm and very human, and (staging it) might be a sort of unconscious response to the tension and fighting that’s happening in the world right now.” 

Morf agreed, and said that laughter can often be the best medicine when facing the serious and somber aspects of the world. To him, One Man, Two Guvnors is a show that helps people through the comedy it brings.

“I love what (Borba) is doing with this play,” Morf said. “‘Because it isn’t just escapism; we’re laughing at ourselves. We’re laughing at how serious we get about things like romance and our jobs and political situations. We take all those things so seriously, and it can be so important to just stop and laugh sometimes.”

Borba said that from its plot to its setting, the show has many strengths. Set in a time when gender roles in society were starting to change and when the British music scene was set to explode, there are a number of things Borba said he’s excited to get into.

“What’s great about this play is that it has great anchor points to explore,” Borba said. “From those, we go into madness — really fun, very enjoyable madness.”
Tags : Chautauqua Theater Companyctc

The author Duard Headley

Duard Headley is from tiny Yellow Springs, Ohio, and studies journalism and American studies at Miami University in Ohio. Coming hot off the heels of performing in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream last summer, he is excited to cover theater at Chautauqua, merging his love for writing and theater into one experience. In his free time, he enjoys acting, reading, and staring wistfully into the distance as though he were deep in thought (He usually isn’t).