If the upcoming ProArts production, "The Play's the Thing," sounds familiar to you, it's a Shakespeare quote from "Hamlet" - "the play's the thing to prove the conscience of the king." Hamlet uses a play of regicide to observe his uncle's reaction. If he flinches, Hamlet believes that will prove guilt. Like "Hamlet," "The Play's the Thing" includes a play within a play designed to serve the protagonist's purpose.
Adapted twice, it was originally written by Ferenc Molnar, a Budapest-born playwright who immigrated to the United States in order to escape persecution of Hungarian Jews during World War II. His play, "Jatek a Kastelyban," was adapted by P. G. Wodehouse as "The Play's the Thing" in 1926, and by Tom Stoppard as "Rough Crossing" in 1984. Two additional Molnar works have been adapted into English as well: a oneact, "Egy, Ketto, Harom," into Billy Wilder's 1961 film, "1, 2, 3," and "Liliom," which Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted into the musical, "Carousel."
Wodehouse, a contemporary of Molnar, was a frequent collaborator with Jerome Kern on several musicals and with Cole Porter on "Anything Goes." His "The Play's the Thing" is a farce and romantic comedy about two playwrights, Turai (Dale Button) and Mansky (Vinnie Linares), and their young protege, composer Albert Adam (Dylan Bode). The trio arrives unexpectedly at a castle on the Italian Riviera to surprise leading lady, Ilona Szabo (Jennifer Rose). Albert is smitten with Ilona, whom he believes is virginal.
Dylan Bode (from left) plays Albert, Vinnie Linares is Mansky and Dale Button portrays Sandor Turai in “The Play’s the Thing.”
JACK GRACE photo
The three writers intend their visit as a celebration for completion of an operetta written for Ilona. However, her former lover, the actor Almady (Scott Newman), has intruded on the festivities. The trio overhears the exes in a compromising situation, and Albert is ready to tear up his music as a result. In order to save their operetta, Turai persuades Ilona and Almady to feign they were rehearsing a play. However, in order for the reuse to work, Turai must now write a script, which includes the compromising dialogue. Molnar's original play was inspired by overhearing his wife, an actress, expressing her love to a German tutor when she was actually reading character lines as a language lesson.
* "The Play's the Thing," 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 14 to March 2, ProArts Playhouse, Kihei. Tickets are $22, with kamaaina discounts available for residents on Feb. 15, 20 and 27. For tickets or more information, call 463-6550.
* "Bad Boys of Dance," 7:30 tonight, Castle Theater, Kahului. Founded by dance superstar Rasta Thomas in 2007, "Bad Boys of Dance" is a hit with every crowd and receive rave reviews as they continue to sell out all over the world. The amazing versatility of these dancers features athletic jumps and endless turns. Tickets range from $12 to $42 (plus applicable fees). Visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order online at mauiarts.org.
* Jo Koy, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Castle Theater, Kahului. Recently named by Variety magazine as one of the "10 Comics to Watch," Jo Koy has gained national attention on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Comedy Central, "Jimmy Kimmel Live," "Last Call with Carson Daly" and "Chelsea Lately." Recommended for mature audiences. Tickets range from $25 to $45 (plus applicable fees), available with MACC details above.
* "Flowers of Hawai'i," 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, McCoy Studio Theater, Kahului. Oahu's Kumu Kahua Theatre presents "Flowers of Hawai'i" by Lee Cataluna and directed by Harry Wong. General admission tickets are $28 (plus applicable fees), available with MACC details above.
* "The Good Doctor," 6:30 p.m. Monday, the Historic Iao Theater, Wailuku. Maui OnStage continues its free theater series, ONO!, with Neil Simon's "The Good Doctor," a tale of a Polish writer suffering from writer's block narrating several of his stories to the audience. Visit www.mauionstage.com.
* "The Tempest," 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 21 through March 2, King Kekaulike High School cafetorium, Pukalani.
KKHS presents Shakespeare's "The Tempest," directed by Chris Kepler. Set on a remote island, Prospero, a magician and rightful duke, plots to restore his daughter, Miranda, to her royal standing using illusion and manipulation. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students, available only at the door, one half hour before the show.
* "Fiddler on the Roof," weekends Feb. 21 through March 16, Steppingstone Playhouse, Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, Kahului. The Maui Academy of Performing Arts presents "Fiddler" with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, book by Joseph Stein and direction by David Johnston. The classic musical, set in 1905 tsarist Russia, is based on "Tevye and his Daughters" and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. Cost is $18 to $24. Visit mauiacademy.org, call 244-8760 or purchase tickets via customer service kiosk at the mall.
* "The Diviners," 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a closing 3 p.m. Sunday matinee, Feb. 28 through March 9, A'ali'ikuhonua Creative Arts Center, Makawao. Seabury Hall Performing Arts presents a poetic tale, set in depression-era Indiana, which involves a mentally-challenged boy whose sweet nature touches most people he meets. Tickets are $12 adults, $10 seniors and $5 students. Call 573-1257 or visit www.seaburyhall.org.
* "High School Musical," 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 28 through March 9, in the Baldwin High School Auditorium, Wailuku. BHS presents its annual spring musical by David Simpatico, directed by Linda Carnevale. This popular movie-musical adaptation is a snapshot of high school life and the cliques that separate them. Tickets are $12 adults, $9 seniors, $7 for those 17 and younger, available only at the door one hour before showtime.