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Sword fighting & swearing: UNK Theatre presents 'The Malcontent'
Megan Blume
Antelope Staff
Photo by Megan Blume
Jordan Peterson (left), a junior theatre major from O Neill, is bribed to murder Spencer Wolfe (right), a senior theatre major from Lincoln, in one of the many backstabbing plots played out in The Malcontent. Jack Garrison, the director of the play explains, Just like in the 16th century, people are always upset with the government and want someone thrown out of power. If you replace the three dukes in the story with the two Bushes and President Obama, you have the same situation as today.

A deposed duke takes on an alter ego in a century of sex, politics and sword fights, manipulating his way back to success in the UNK Theatre’s production of “The Malcontent.”

“The Malcontent,” which opens Nov. 17 in the Miriam Drake Theatre, was written by John Marston in 1604. It defies the whimsical Shakespearean era and takes on a cynical approach to the government of the 1500s, when James I was the ruler of England.

“The Italian duke was banished, so he disguises himself and manipulates the other dukes in the kingdom,” said Jack Garrison, UNK Theatre associate professor and director of the play. “There is a lot of backstabbing, sword fighting, poisoning and some romance.”

“The play is very satirical. If I had to describe it as a modern genre it would be Black Comedy,” he said. “Marston was way ahead of his time.” The play contains several kissing scenes, some violence and 16th century swearing.

“The show has a lot of dramatic twists and turns and more comedy than one might expect,” said Kyle Kuypers, a senior theatre major from Kearney. “The characters are written and acted very well, so there is plenty of fun.”

Garrison rewrote some of the Shakespearean language to make the play more modern, but old Italian-style costumes will still be worn.

“The 400-year-old script will be easier to understand for the viewers,” Garrison said. “The play flows quickly and smoothly, more like a modern play.”

“We tweaked the show so it’s less complicated without all the ‘thees’ and ‘thous," Kuypers said.

Garrison noted that the play is very relatable to modern government and the dealings in America. “Just like in the 16th century, people are always upset with the government and want someone thrown out of power. If you replace the three dukes in the story with the two Bushes and President Obama, you have the same situation as today,” he said.

“Audience members will be surprised at how many twists and turns the plot takes. There is always somebody out to get someone else.”

“The audience should expect anything and everything,” Kuypers said. “With a show from this era it’s usually hard to tell what you might take from it, but it’s a great story, and I’m positive everyone will enjoy it.”

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