Custom Made Theatre Company kicks off its 13th season with the San Francisco premiere of wild & crazy guy Steve Martin’s The Underpants, September 23-October 22 at Gough Street Playhouse, 1629 Gough Street in San Francisco.
The Underpants, a hilarious, laugh-out-loud farce, is directed by long-time theatre guru Herb Gelb, whose credits extend from Moliere to Mamet and back again. Featured in the cast are Michael Moerman, AJ Davenport, Gabriel A. Ross, David Vega, Paul Stout, and introduces newcomer Riley Krull as Louise, the lady who loses, briefly, her knickers.
The adaptation was written by Steve Martin. It was produced at New York City’s Off-Broadway theater Classic Stage Company from April 4, 2002 through April 28, 2002. Most recent productions include Pentacle Theatre in Salem, Oregon and the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Australia.
Steve Martin has steadily widened and deepened his natural feel for comedy since the days of The Jerk, “Funky Tut,” and the arrow-through-the-head. The man who brought us Picasso at the Lapin Agile in 1993 went back to his European muse in 2002 for The Underpants, his take on the popular 1910 farce by German writer Carl Sternheim, then titled Die Hose. It meant underpants then, and it still does, with all the naughty plot turns that had German Herrren guffawing and their Frauen blushing into their puffy sleeves.
As the play opens, Theo Maske, an officious, puritanical bureaucrat, berates his wife, Louise, for allowing her underpants to fall to the ground at a parade for the king. Theo frets that he and Louise will be financially ruined and become social outcasts from the inevitable scandal. But before long, besotted men appear at Maske’s door to rent a room – and, unnoticed by the proprietor, to seduce his wife. As scandal erupts into spectacle, the characters reflect, and reflect upon, our fascination with fame, our reliance on gender roles, and our enslavement by sex.
This classic, expressionist farce shows1910 to be as naughty as today – maybe even more so.
A comedy adapted by Steve Martin, from the original by Carl Sternheim
Custom Made Theatre Company
Gough Street Playouse,1620 Gough St. (at Bush), San Francisco
Directed by Hal Gelb
Opening Night: Tues, Sept 27th 8pm
Previews: Fri-Sat (8pm) Sept 23-24 ; Sun (7pm) Sept 25
Runs: Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun 7pm Sept 29-Oct 22
Tickets $25-$32. Or by subscription. 5-show season packages range from $70 to $125.