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‘The Madwoman of Chaillot’ to be staged at Indian Hills

Nov 23, 2012

OTTUMWA —“The Madwoman of Chaillot,” the 1947 comic French fable by Jean Giraudoux, will be performed Thursday through Dec. 1 at Indian Hills Community College. The play will begin at 7:30 p.m. each day in St. John Auditorium on the college’s Ottumwa campus. Admission is free, but patrons can reserve their tickets by calling 641- 683-5144.

Under the direction of theatre professor Ronelle Willadsen, the play is a humorous fantasy featuring actors who will transform the stage into the streets of Paris. Countess Aurelia, (Elizabeth Caudill, Ottumwa), wraps herself in the glamour of days gone by to organize the elite of Paris’ homeless, with a plan to rid the city of destruction caused by businessmen and politicians.

A President (Trey McIntosh, Des Moines) and a Baron (Nicholas Ford, Bussey) meet for a power moment at a sidewalk café. With intermittent irritating interruptions by a variety of Parisian street people, the President woos the Baron to join his shady business. From a Prospector (Mason Ferguson, Wayland), they skewer a plot into their brains believing oil lies in wait under the streets of Paris for the cunning to extract. Of course, extracting the oil would destroy the city, but the greedy, devious and ruthless businessmen and politicians could care less. There’s no one to stop them — so they think.

They have not considered the power behind Countess Aurelia, the Madwoman of Chaillot. Organizing comes naturally to this woman who lives comfortably in her memories of a Paris that is long past. When she learns of the plot to destroy the Paris she loves for money and greed, she wonders why no one has done anything and hands out instructions and orders to her compatriots.

Clothed as a Sewer Man, (Rachel Benson, Albia), double talks with precision through questions by Aurelia, giving her a secret to the tunnels under Paris that fits beautifully in her plan. A clandestine meeting with Constance, Madwoman of Passy, (Rachel Cobler, Ottumwa); Gabrielle, Madwoman of St. Sulpice (Brianna Ferris, Donnellson) and Josephine, Madwoman of La Concorde, (Lauren Reilly, Marion), seals the plan to rid Paris of its threat.

Rich with calculated, sharp-edged humor, the huge cast breathes life, heart and soul into every character, making them as real as those who walk the streets of any major city.

The cast includes: Sara Beary, Kenny Grimm, Gabby Wells and Nicholas West (Albia); Austin Haring (Cambria); Josephine Walton (Corning); Jay Jacobson, Arlina Miller and Diya Sandhu (Des Moines); Tyler Breeding (Fairfield); Andrew Kecy and Matt Lundeen (Knoxville); Kari Huff (Monroe); Nathan Korell, Marie Libanan and Kyla Ma (Oskaloosa); Kaelee Fountain, Larissa Mincks, Nichole Mitchell, Elizabeth Pickens, Sherry Vice and Victoriana Wiebe (Ottumwa); Natalie Pickett and Jon Verhoef (Pella); and Trent Potter (State Center).


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