What the Butler Saw

SIUE students Rehearsing "What the Butler Saw"From November seventh through eleventh SIUE’s Department of Theater and Dance will be presenting Joe Orton’s, “What the Butler Saw.”

Originally premiering in 1969, “What the Butler Saw,” was Orton’s final play, and the second to be performed after this death. The play is an outrageous comedy revolving around Dr. Prentice, a psychiatrist, who attempts to seduce Geraldine Barclay, a woman applying to be his new secretary. In the fashion of the genre the situation gets more heated and complex as more characters are added to the mix resulting in a series of close calls and adult situations.

The piece was proposed by its’ director Chuck Harper and was chosen because of the challenges and opportunities it presents.

“We try to balance out the needs of student performers,” Harper said, “what kind of things have they done or haven’t they had the opportunity to do.”

One of the major challenges for the work is the need for spot on comic timing which the cast and crew have been rehearsing heavily.

“In a kind of classic farce way there are entrance and exits that follow rapid fire,” explained Harper, “It’s a chance for students to really deal with comic timing, you do something a certain way and it’s really funny and if you don’t it’s not.”

While, “What the Butler Saw,” has been heralded as one of the great British Comedies it bears stating that it is not appropriate for children due to adult themes and situations.

“If you have a taste for the outrageous and enjoy provocative comedy this will be a fun night a theater,” Harper shared, “it’s a ridiculously fun evening.”

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