Stage Center Theatre 2012-2013 Season
Main Stage Productions
2012-13 Season Stage Center Theatre

The Braggart Soldier
by Titus Maccius Plautus, translated by Erich Segal

Directed by Lisa Cantwell
Spring Semester, 2013

Comedy today has roots in the plays of Roman playwright, Plautus. For example, the plots of three of his plays were combined to create Stephen Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The Braggart Soldier follows the scheming clever slave, Palaestrio as he employs his trickery to reunite master and girlfriend while making a fool out of the braggart soldier. All depends on persuading those he deceives that the girlfriend has a twin sister, who just happens to be visiting at the house next door. The plot unfolds in typical bedroom farce style with characters popping in and out just in the nick of time to avoid being caught in the deception. Come see what audiences have been laughing at for over 2200 years.

The Braggart Soldier—2,200 Years in the Making
By John Portenlanger
    Titus Maccius Plautus was born about 254 BC. For Rome, this was a period of almost constant warfare. These were the preempire days of the Roman Republic when the Eternal City was fighting desperately to defend her borders and achieve a modest increase of her influence. Those days were a far cry from the declining days of the Empire when “Roman” became a prefix to the word “orgy”. On the contrary, the typical Roman citizen was a very moralistic (some might even say “Puritanical” or prudish). The exception to this rule of selflimiting moral behavior was various holidays when Romans would let their hair down. These Roman Holidays were periods of wild celebrations when bad behavior didn’t countsort of an early version of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. During these holidays, citizens of Rome would engage in the dissolute behavior that they generally ascribed to the profligate Greeks, they “Greeked it up”. Many of Plautus’ irresponsible characters were written as Greeks, feeding this Roman stereotype.

    When Plautus was still a teenager, Roman expansion, which would eventually lead to empire, began with the annexation of Sicily, the first Roman Province. Sicily, under strong influence from their close contact with Greece was a center for the arts, including theatre. It was from Sicily that theatre first came to Rome. Plays, in the tradition of “Greek New Comedy” were generally presented during holiday celebrations. A native of Umbria, located in what is now central Italy; Plautus moved to Rome and worked in theatre perhaps as a scenic designer, carpenter, or stagehand. He became an actor and eventually a playwrightthe first professional playwright, depending upon his writing for his livelihood. His plays represent the earliest intact literature in Roman history. To his name, Titus, he appended Maccius, a stock character from popular farces, and Plautus meaning “flatfooted”.

    Plautus was by far the most popular playwright of his time. He had an intimate understanding of what made Romans laugh. Even a rowdy, drunken holiday crowd could be brought to silent, rapt attention with the simple announcement “We bring you Plautus”. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Plautus should feel very flattered indeed. He is probably the most imitated playwright in history with over 130 supposedly Plautine plays in circulation a hundred years after his death. For centuries, scholars have made a sort of game out of deciding on the authenticity of various plays. Varro famously categorized plays as definitely, probably, and probablynotPlautus. Twenty of Plautus’ plays survive; at least 31 plays exist in fragmentary form. One source of Plautus’ plays was a parchment which was erased to reuse for Augustine’s Commentary on the Psalms. This willful destruction of artistry brings to mind the loss of much of the work of TV pioneer Ernie Kovacs. Many of the video tapes of his shows were reused in order to save a few bucks on tape. This resulted in the loss of some of the most creative material ever presented on television.

    The monk charged with expunging the old documents seems to have done a diligent job at the beginning of his work, became rather lax in the middle, and then became more vigorous near the end. Using modern forensic methods, several of his plays were recovered. Oddly they were listed in alphabetical order so most of the surviving plays are from the middle of the alphabet. The Braggart Soldier (Miles Gloriosus) is an example.

    Plautus’ plays were forerunners of the 16th and 17th century, Italian Renaissance comedy form commedia dell’arte with its stock characters. In The Braggart Soldier, we meet the title character, an early version of Capitano, who boasts of his courage in fictitious battles (behavior considered unacceptable to the true military hero, whose traits ideally included selfeffacing humility). Other characters include the clever slave and the lecherous old man.

    The influence of Plautus on theatre has been profound and can be found in the works of Shakespeare and Molière. Three Plautine plays, Pseudolus, Castina, and Mostellaria, inspired Stephen Sondheim’s 1963 Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

    One would think that other Roman Playwrights would continue in the Plautine manner and keep the laughter going, but, strangely, that did not happen. Upon his death this epigram pretty much summed up the state of Roman theatre:
When the playwright Plautus died
Comedy broke down and cried
The stage was empty, then all Laughter, Games, and Fun
And all his boundless, bouncy rhythms – wept as one.

    Erich Wolf Segal (1937-2010) translated Miles Gloriosus/The Braggart Soldier. Dr. Segal earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate (in comparative literature) from Harvard and taught Greek and Latin literature at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Universities.

    Roman Laughter: The Comedy of Plautus, Segal’s first academic book presented Plautus in, what was then, a novel light. Many scholars felt that since Plautus’ works used Greek models that were then “defaced” with jokes, puns, songs, and anachronisms, that his achievements were not particularly remarkable. Dr. Segal argues that while his models were Greek, his plays were really his own. His plays made the audience laugh and the laughter was Roman.

    Erich Segal is probably best known for the novel and screenplay for Love Story, the top box office hit of 1970. While some consider it to be a rather sappy “chickflick”, his scholarly work on ancient languages is something for which Erich Segal never had to say he was sorry.

Segal, Erich (translator). Plautus: Three Comedies. Harper and Row. New York, 1969.
Segal, Erich. Roman Laughter. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, 1968
Slater, Niall W. Plautus in Performance. Princeton University Press. Princeton 1985.

Cast List______________

Pyrgopolynices......Brian Rogers
Palaestrio......Blake Malley
Clark Bender
Sceledrus.....Bartholomew Webster
Pleusicles......Patryk Szwankowski
Philocomasium......Lily Stephens
Acroteleutium......Jill Matel
Milphidippa......Sarah Beckette
Cario.....Mo Partowie
Ensemble.....Khadija Ahmed,
Michael Slas, Valerie Rodriguez, R. Wood

Production Staff______________
Producer...Rodney Higginbotham
Director...Lisa Cantwell
Assistant Director...Annie Dernbach
Stage Manager...Thomas Clyde
Assistant Stage Manager...David Dahlman
Assistant Stage Manager...Kasey Diep
Scenic Designer...Lizz Otto-Cramer
Costume Designer...Jana Anderson
Lighting Designer...John Rodriguez
Sound Designer...Luke Sword
Costume Mistress...Maria Barajas
Hair/Makeup Artist...Yim Chiu
Dramaturg...John Portenlanger
Set Construction...Theatre Practicum and Stagecraft Classes

Theatre Personnel____________________
Managing Artistic Director...Rodney Higginbotham
Theatre Bookkeeper...Kristina Salearelli
Publications & Publicity Staff...Elizabeth Krahulec, Mary Nano and Natalie Mayen
Box Office & House Managers...Maciej Mardosz, Larisa Bocka and Mary Nano

Khadiga Ahmed (Ensemble) is currently attending NEIU as a CMT major. When she was 10 years old, her mother enrolled her in an acting program called Star Fish. The more she grew, the more in love with acting she became. She attended Gallery 37 for theater. Khadiga has played in True West at the American Mosaic Theater. She is very happy to be part of The Braggart Solider. She is looking forward to a lifetime of performing on stage and shinning on the big screen.

Sarah Beckette (Milphidippa) is an early childhood education major. She has done numerous shows with Stage Center Theatre and is happy to be part of another. You may also recognize her from such shows as, 'Teen Mom', 'The Voice' and 'To Catch a Predator' …but then again probably not, because she was never in those. She would like to thank the cast and crew for all the laughs, Lisa for her bottomless enthusiasm and positivity, Ally for the sweater (P.S. next time, do better!) her family and friends for being amazing, and Jesus... her favorite Barista.

Clark Bender (Periplectomenus) is pleased to be working with such a talented cast and crew under the direction of fellow As You Like It performer, Lisa Cantwell! Past Stage Center shows include Censored on Final Approach, You Can’t Take It With You and Hay Fever. He has also appeared in A Klingon Christmas Carol (told entirely in Klingon!) since 2010. He thanks Kim for letting him pretend to be an actor.

Blake Malley (Paleastrio) is in his last year as a Communication, Media and Theatre student at NEIU. He is thrilled to be in-volved in another production at Stage Center where he has recent-ly worked on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Man’s World, The Misan-thrope, and Fuddy Meers. He would like to thank Lisa and the cast and crew for being so fun and easy to work with. Special thanks to Mary, Anya, Annie, and Yim for helping with lines. Holla at Wood and Mo for all their help on the rap!

Jill Matel (Acroteleutium) is excited to try her hand at this classic farce!! She is currently finishing her CMT degree at NEIU and has performed several times at Stage Center. A choreogra-pher as well, Jill has performed extensively in the Milwaukee and Chicago theater communities. Thanks to Lisa and the fabulous cast and crew!! RJ LU

Mo Partowie (Cario) is extremely excited and proud to be working with such wonderful people. This is his first play ever and everyone has made his experience great. He would also like to send a huge shout-out to his family and friends for their love and support. Love you Mom and Mama Jamie.

Valerie Alexis Rodriguez (Ensemble) is thrilled to be work-ing in her first NEIU production and with such a riveting cast! Va-lerie is currently a sophomore and a CMT major at NEIU. She has previously played Catherine Petkoff in Arms and the Man, Olivia in Twelfth Night, Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, and The Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. Valerie would like to thank her fami-ly and closest friends first and foremost for their unconditional support. She would also like to thank the cast and crew of The Braggart Soldier for welcoming her with open arms and making her experience in her first NEIU production a blast!

Brian Rogers (Pyrgopolynices) is overjoyed to be making a return to the stage after a brief absence. Brian has had the time of his life at NEIU, and this is his seventh show at the Stage Center Theatre. He would hate to be a braggart, but he recently graduat-ed Magna Cum Laude from NEIU with an English major and a Theatre minor. He would like to express his gratitude to Lisa Cantwell, an amazing teacher, director and friend. Brian's life has seen many changes recently, including a move, starting a new job, and several other interesting twists. He is very grateful to have worked such an amazing cast and crew!

Michael Slas (Ensemble) graduated in December from NEIU, but Lisa managed to con him into another show. This is Michael's umpteenth performance at Stage Center Theatre. Previously he's been spotted in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Fuddy Meers. He would like to thank his Mom, Carolyn, Duncan, Lisa, and his Grecian Goddess Lily

Lily Stephens (Philacomasium/Dicea) has loved being able to work with such incredibly ridiculous and insane characters in this show. And they can act! Previous works include Fuddy Meers (Claire) and Jekyll and Hyde (Elizabeth). Lily gives thanks and love to her friends, family, and Kenny the Drunk.

Patryk Szwankowski (Pleusicles) is a Communication, Media and Theatre major at Northeastern Illinois University.

Bartholomew Webster (Sceledrus) is excited to be perform-ing as Sceledrus in The Braggart Soldier. He is currently a junior majoring in Communication, Media and Theatre. He has taken improv classes at the Annoyance Theatre and the Second City Conservatory. Favorite theatre roles include Lawrence in For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls and Macbeth in Macbeth. He would like to thank his director, Lisa Cantwell, for putting up with him and trusting him with this role, the amazing cast and crew of The Braggart Soldier for their incredible talent and work, and last, but not least, his friends and his parents for all their strong support

Rufus Wood (Ensemble) is an U.S. Army veteran as well as an entrepreneur. Outside of running his own business, he is pursuing his degree in Communication, Media and Theatre at Northeastern Illinois University. This is his first production and he is excited to be working with the cast and crew of The Braggart Soldier. He would like to thank all those who have supported his endeavors, including his son, Kurstian Wood, and his fiancée, Elizabeth Clark

Artistic Staff_______________________

Lisa Cantwell (Director) earned her bachelor's degree at Northwestern University and recently received her Master's degree in Communication, Media and Theatre here at NEIU. She is an instructor of theatre and also teaches in the College of Arts and Sciences Education Program (CASEP) and in the Honors Program at NEIU. Recent directing projects include How He Lied to Her Husband, Totally RED!, Dead Man's Cell Phone, The Love for Three Oranges, The Odd Couple, A Toby Show, and You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. She is also directing this semester's Children's Theatre Workshop production of R.N. Sand-berg's adaptation of The Odyssey. Heartfelt thanks to lovely Jana, dazzling Lizz, and to John R., her Tony; to Rodney, her Colonel; and to this completely captivating cast and crew, you knocked her socks off. Eternal gratitude to the enchanting Anna, the most exquisite flower. And so much love to Monkey and B, her favorite goofballs.

Ann Dernbach (Assistant Director) is beyond thrilled to be working on her eighth production at Stage Center. She would like thank her friends and family for coming to another show, the cast and crew for all their hard work, and the waitstaff at Golden Nug-get. She would especially like to thank Lisa for letting her tag along and learn from a master at work!

Thomas Clyde (Stage Manager) was born in Seattle and reared all over the world. He’s a Navy Brat. He is currently working for The Chicago Department of Public Health, going on 12 years now. He’s a senior at NEIU and is doing his theatre practicum with The Braggart Soldier. He will graduate in December 2013, finally! He has been in-volved in theatre for many years. He has acted in dozens of plays each one more fun than the previous one. He is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and, is a member of SAG/AFTRA. Being the stage manager has been a lot of fun. Thanks for making it fun, Lisa. He is dedicating this show to his mother Mildred Clyde who passed away in 2011. Thanks for always believing in him, Mom.

David Dahlman (Assistant Stage Manager) is excited to be working with such a fun and entertaining crew! He is currently attending Northeastern Illinois University working toward a major in Communication, Media and Theatre; and already achieved a minor in Earth Science. He is new to theatre, and so far is loving it. His favorite part of the experience so far is watching all the cast members grow as their characters and watching the play come together. He would like to thank the cast for keeping him laughing each day and the director, Lisa, for letting him in on this experience. It's been a blast seeing something that was just read one day turn into a production!

Kasey Diep (Assistant Stage Manager) is contemplating the meaning of life and existence. She’s a Communication, Media and Theatre major minoring in Sociology. She is new to the theatre scene, but is enjoying laughing with the crew. She expected it to be intense, but it was a great experience. Aside from theatre, she likes traveling the world and experiencing new adventures everyday! She would like to thank everyone for this amazing experience and looks forward to seeing the production come together

Jana Anderson
(Costume Designer) has worked with the Stage Center Theatre for the last few years Her work has also been featured by numerous theatre groups including Redmoon Theatre, Light Opera Works, Irish Repertory Theatre, just to name a few. Prior to coming to the United States, Jana created elaborate costumes for classical opera productions at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. When she is not preparing costumes for theatre productions, Jana is busy designing and creating unique haute couture fashions for individual clients in the US and Europe.

Yim Chiu (Hair/Makeup Artist) is happy to be working as a professional makeup artist for the first time at Stage Center. She has previously stage managed You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Censored on Final Approach. Biggest thanks to Lisa Cantwell, for giving her this opportunity to be a part of this wonderful production and being a wonderful mentor. Also, thanks to the cast and crew. Special thanks to Patryk, Jason, Simon, Blake, Mary, Nik, and all her friends for always believing in and supporting her through all the good and bad times. “The night is darkest just before the dawn.” –Harvey Dent.

Luke Sword (Sound Designer) is thrilled about helping to create the goofy world of The Braggart Soldier. Through the years, Luke has shifted away from acting in order to work behind the scenes. He interned with the Raven Theater acting as run crew and videographer for the children’s summer camp. Most recently, he has designed sound for NEIU shows including Fuddy Meers, The Misanthrope, and Censored on Final Approach. He has enjoyed working on this production and is already looking forward to the next.

John Rodriguez (Lighting Designer) joined the theatre faculty at NEIU nine years ago and has been teaching courses in technical theatre as well as working as a designer on Stage Center Theatre productions. Most recent designs include Around the World in Eighty Days, Bleacher Bums, Odd Couple, A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Thymely Theatre’s productions of You Can’t Take It With You and As You Like It.

Lizz Otto-Cramer (Scenic Designer) is happy to be making her return to NEIU after a five year hiatus. A graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Lizz has designed, painted, and created props for numerous theatres throughout the nation, including the Kennedy Center and Universal Studios Hollywood. She greatly enjoys working with her students and fellow faculty at NEIU, and is excited to be teaching again.

Special thanks to:
Katrina Bell-Jordan; Rodney Higginbotham; Anna Antaramian; Jana Anderson; Lizz Otto-Cramer; John Rodriguez; John Portenlanlanger; Alan Mace; Karol Bayley; all of my colleagues in the Department of Communication, Media and Theatre; Elizabeth Krahulec; Maria Barajas; Maciej Mardosz; Mary Nano; Larisa Bocka; and Kelly Gazer. And to the wacky and wonderful Annie, Bartholomew, Blake, Brian, Clark, David, Jill, Kasey, Khadiga, Lily, Luke, Michael, Mo, Patryk, Sarah, Thomas, Valerie, Wood, and Yim... I wouldn't trade this time with you for all the drachme in the world.

The Braggart Soldier is produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.


Pyrgopolynices (Brian Rogers), Palaestrio (Blake Malley),
Philocomasium (Lily Stephens), Pleusicles (Patryk Szwankowski)

Pyrgopolynices (Brian Rogers), Palaestrio (Blake Malley),
Philocomasium (Lily Stephens), Pleusicles (Patryk Szwankowski)

Ensemble (Michael Slas), Ensemble (Valerie Rodriguez), Cario (Mo Partowie),
Ensemble (Khadija Ahmed), Ensemble (Rufus Wood)

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