The cast of “SMASH,” a story about a 20-minute marriage and the corruption of an all-girls boarding school, will perform its opening show May 12 in the Alex and Faye Spanos Theatre.
The play takes audiences back to 1910 when Sidney Trefusis, a young millionaire and husband for 20 minutes, leaves his wife to overthrow a Communist government with socialism. And what better way to corrupt the heads of state than by persuading the women who will eventually marry them?
Josh Machamer, “SMASH” director and associate professor, said the play falls into a variety of genres.
“It’s farcical mayhem with love and politics mixed in,” Machamer said.
“SMASH” was written by Jeffrey Hatcher and adapted from the book, “An Unsocial Socialist” by George Bernard Shaw. However, the play and novel have some differences.
Hatcher changed the timeline from when the book was written in 1883 to 1910, and changed the main character Sidney’s disguise name.
Hatcher also presents the political and social movements in a fashion that has audiences gauging the play as a comedy with some hidden messages.
Feminism is one of those messages. Although feminism had a limited audience, it was a message that needed to be brought to the public, history professor Kathleen Cairns said.
Theater senior Natalie Roy, who plays the character Jane Carpenter, said she agrees feminism plays a large role in the play.
“Feminism is a huge overtone,” Roy said. “The first place the main character goes to is an all-girls school and gives a speech about how women are the future.”
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, women were discouraged from publishing any written works unless they wrote for the female section of the newspaper.
“There were some books written by women, but not many were being published,” Cairns said. “Women weren’t supposed to write under their own names.”
But women’s rights activists were looking for more than just the right to write and publish books.
“This moment is generally regarded as the first wave of feminism where women fought for the right to own property, to vote and for rights in marriage,” associate English professor Brenda Helmbrecht said. “Women wanted representation in government and still do since there is still a real disparity when you look at the number of women in government today.”
Machamer would like audiences to see how the characters learn how to cope with and overcome each other’s differences.
“I’d love for the audience to see how often our obsessive wants and desires are immovable and how easily they can be toppled,” he said. “The characters literally ‘SMASH’ together to learn how to live and cope with each other.”
“SMASH” will be performed May 12 to May 14 and May 19 to May 21. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students, seniors and Cal Poly faculty and staff. Tickets are available at the Performing Arts Box Office and online.
Editor’s note: A video of the cast of “SMASH” is available at mustangdaily.net.