Campus News

Laughter and penguins

It isn’t funny when your holidays are ruined by a grumpy, gruff, mean, acerbic, portly man who’s not even a relation-but when it happens to someone else, it’s hilarious. Add some romance, a glamorous actress, a prankster and some penguins, and you’ve got the idea of the University Theatre’s production of “The Man Who Came To Dinner.”

The George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart classic ushers in the holiday season this month. The show runs in the Fine Arts Building at 8 p.m. Nov. 9-11 and 15-18 and Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $12 ($10 for senior citizens and UGA students with a valid ID) and tickets may be purchased at the University Theatre Box Office located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building at the corner of Lumpkin and Baldwin streets. Reservations may be made in advance by calling (706) 542-2838.

The show’s premise is set in motion when world-renowned wit Sheridan Whiteside slips and falls outside of the Stanleys’ home and he is forced to stay with them, subsequently turning the house upside-down. He is demanding and patronizing, and keeps the phone and the servants busy with his international calls and visiting celebrities.

Whiteside was based on Alexander Woollcott, a writer, radio personality and member of New York’s Algonquin Round Table, whose fiendish wit was infamous. When he turned up unexpectedly at Moss Hart’s Pennsylvania home, he demanded Hart’s own bed and struck fear into the staff. When he left, he signed Hart’s guest book: “This is to certify that I had one of the most unpleasant times I ever spent.”

Hart related the story to Kaufman, adding that he was only too glad Woollcott hadn’t fallen down, broken his leg and been forced to stay. Thus the idea for the play was born.