On Wednesday, November 16, Theatre Roanoke College will present its fall production “The Haunted House” from 7:30 to 9:30 in Olin Theater. The lively Roman comedy by Plautus is set in the city of Athens and follows the characters Philolaches, Tranio, Philematium, Theopropides, and others.
“The Haunted House” focuses on Philolaches, the son of Theopropides, an old Athenian merchant. While Theopropides is away on business in Egypt, Philolaches decides to take advantage of his father’s absence by throwing a lavish party with his friends. Unbeknownst to Philolaches and his guests, his father has arrived back abruptly. When the old man’s slave Tranio alerts the partiers of this fact, it sends them into a panic.
Apart from the excessive partying, Philolaches has borrowed large amounts of money to buy the freedom of a slave girl named Philematium, whom he loves very much. Philematium, played by Kris Halverson ’14, is sweet and kind, but is also a bit of a bimbo. “I like to think of her as the Roman version of Barbie” Halverson said.
Determined not to let Theopropides learn of the bad behavior that has been apparent while he was away, his quick and clever slave, Tranio, played by Johnny Camacho ’12, decides to create lies to keep everyone out of trouble. Tranio hides Philolaches and his friends inside the house and proceeds to tell Theopropides not to go inside because it happens to be haunted.
“I like how my character gets to build rapport with the audience” Camacho said. “They become a kind of accomplice in my character’s scheming and plotting.”
Audiences are sure to enjoy the humor, set, and costumes of the show.
“[The humor] is very bold and is fueled by deception, misunderstanding, and audience acknowledgement, which are all common devices in Plautus’ comedies” Camacho said.
The scenery and characters are also engaging.
“The set and costumes are gorgeous” Halverson said. “[There are] crazy mixed and matched colors, over the top wigs and crazy loveable characters.”
Most of all, audience members can relate to the happenings of House.
“This play is a direct correlation, I believe, to how people really are,” Darlene Harris ’14, stage manager for the show. “We have all told a lie, and to keep that lie from being found out another lie is told”.
“The Haunted House” is sure to be a hit as the audience will find it both funny and relatable from start to finish.