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ESU Theatre presents ‘The Underpants’

Emporia State University Theatre opens the 2022-23 academic year with “The Underpants” by Carl Sternheim and adapted by actor/comedian Steve Martin with performances today through Saturday.

Performances will in the Ronald Q. Frederickson Theatre at 7:30 p.m. today through Friday, with two performances on Saturday — 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

This guffaw-inducing comedy comes from the wild and crazy mind of the incomparable Steve Martin. It's 1910 in Düsseldorf. The placid, conservative life of Theo and Louise Maske is thrown into chaos when Louise’s drawers fall down during the town parade. Sidesplitting chaos ensues as the newlyweds, who have been trying to rent a room in their flat, face an influx of unprincipled prospective male lodgers, each eager to catch a glimpse of the now infamous pair of underpants.

“I have directed most genres and styles of theatre during my career, but I have never before had the opportunity to direct ‘grand farce.’ Thematically, I think of farce as ‘high stakes with few consequences,’ or perhaps as ‘grand gestures towards the trivial.’ In this story, the world is turned upside down when Louise’s underpants fall down in public. But at the heart of this play is a universal conflict between estrangement and reconciliation in married life. I would like to remind folks that due to the renovation in the Bruder Theatre, we have very limited seating in the Frederickson Black Box theatre.”

Visit for reservations or additional information, or call the box office at (620) 341-5256 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays with any questions. 90 Minutes. No late seating.

The ensemble cast is comprised of Christine Pascoe (Overland, KS), Logan Trask (Spring Hill, KS,) Taylor Bisbee (Rosalia, KS), Brennan Ryan (Emporia, KS), Eddie Lee (Empora, KS), Lucas DeJesus (Emporia, KS) and Benjamin Ziek (Emporia, KS).

The faculty production team includes Pete Rydberg (Director, Producer), Nancy J. Pontius (Scenic Design), Chris Lohkamp (Scenic Shop Manager, Props Supervisor), and Amanda Dura (Costume Shop Manager).

The student production team includes Technical Director Mason Nicks (Leavenworth, KS), Costume Designer Kathleen Martin (Kiowa, KS), Lighting and Sound Director Mike Cooprider (Hutchinson, KS), Stage Manager Ashley Hill (Olathe, KS), Assistant State Manager Evie Johnson (Canton, KS), with crew members Nicholas Thomas (Emporia, KS), Abbiah Conrad (Mulvane, KS), Vaughn Lolley (Topeka, KS), Courtney Wisdom (Conway Springs, KS), Kaitlin Werth (Wichita, KS), Greyson Waltmire (Topeka, KS) and Laney Smith (Belle Plains, KS).

About Emporia State Theatre

Emporia State University has one of the oldest and strongest theatre programs in the country, with well over 1,000 graduates. Many are working across the country in professional and academic theatre. At ESU, students can earn a BFA or BA in theatre, or gain certification to become a secondary teacher in the BSE program in speech and theatre. We are proud to be a part of an outstanding department, Communication and Theatre. ESU Theatre is an active participant of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.