Auditions for the Lyric Theatre’s next production — two one-act comedies to be performed consecutively — will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
The farcical shows, “Shut and Bar the Door” and “A Toby Show,” follow in the vein of February’s crowd-pleasing production of “The Beverly Hillbillies” and last spring’s “Love Rides the Rails.”
Larry Mathis, who will direct both shows, said about a half-dozen roles for women and men are available in each play. Auditions Monday will be held at the theater.
“It’s possible that some actors will be cast in both shows,” Mathis said. “It just depends on who comes to the audition.”
Performance dates will be over the last two weekends in May.
“Shut and Bar the Door” by Tom Gray, set in 13th century England, involves a husband and wife who enter a pact to remain silent after an argument over which one of them should “shut and bar the door” of their cottage. Their resolve is tested when the home is invaded by a princess in search of her prince as well as by robbers. The comedy builds to a furious chase.
“It really is hysterical,” Mathis said.
In his notes about the play, the playwright wrote, “This is a farce and should be presented as such… The influence of French Farce and the Works of Moliére can clearly be seen in this comedy via the use of two dying arts: the classical aside and the nearly forgotten columbine,“ a stock theatrical character in Italian, French and English comedies.
“A Toby Show” brings back to the stage an American folk character who is named Toby, a country bumpkin who through naiveté, honesty and homespun humor outwits city slickers. The character became a folk hero for rural Americans who — before the development of radio, movies and television — enjoyed touring stage shows that played in their hometowns.
“Toby is not only the name of the main character, it’s also a type of early 20th century folk theater,” Mathis said. “It’s an old type of play, and it’s really funny as well.”
Within the melodrama, Toby uses a performance of “Cinderella” to outsmart his antagonists.
The show, set in 1915, was written by Aurand Harris, perhaps best known for adapting “Androcles and the Lion” as a children’s production in 1964.
“A Toby Show” premiered at the University of Texas at Austin under a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, Mathis said. Harris received the Charlotte B. Chorpenning Playwright Award in 1967 and in 1985.
This twin-bill production is included in the annual package for holders of 2017 Lyric Theatre Patron tickets, but patrons should plan to make reservations online to ensure best seat selection. Further information is available at www.lyrictheatre.com.