Hilarious history: Upcoming production features fast pace without politics

Chansey Rhoads (left to right), Hope Bethel and Chelsie Jeffries star in "The Complete History of America (Abridged)."

Things are tense out there, politically speaking. The director, cast and crew behind a patriotic poke at the country’s history believe it’s time for a few laughs.

“The Complete History of America (Abridged)” is a fast-paced, tightly woven comedy that pairs pop culture with key moments in our country’s history. The production will be featured at Studio 124 from Thursday to Sunday, Oct. 25.

“When we talked out setting up a full year of shows, we thought this would be really cool to do around this time,” director Marilyn Marshall-Bouldin said. “It’s a very witty, intellectual vaudeville that respects the Founding Fathers and the history of our country.”

Chansey Rhoads, Hope Bethel and Chelsie Jeffries constitute the cast, with each actor taking on multiple roles. The show’s pace means that the three have to complete a sprint complete with funny banter, crazy characters, costume changes and a list of props that hits triple digits.

Marshall-Bouldin said that the show is demanding of its actors — having three people for 90 minutes of fast-paced lines means a lot of memorization, after all. The three have trained in multiple ways, from general physical conditioning to vocal exercises.

“(Assistant Director Allison Dodge) and I had a lot of conversations and were very particular about the casting, and we ended up with three fantastic ladies,” Marshall-Bouldin said. “They have been nothing but completely willing and ready to delve in from day one.”

The show features a series of sketches that present a humorous take about formative moments in the country’s history. Written by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, the show covers history and politics without getting political or partisan, Marshall-Bouldin said.

The cast and crew did extra historical study in preparation for the production. The result is a breakneck show that makes 90 minutes fly by.

That entertainment quality is important to enjoy before Election Day, she said.

“It’s a tense political environment out there,” Marshall-Bouldin said. “We wanted to be respectful and offer some comedic relief by remembering what this country is all about. We tackled the history of the country without politics, and I’m very proud of that.”

Joe Hadsall is the digital editor for The Joplin Globe. He has been the editor of the former Nixa News-Enterprise and has worked for the Christian County Headliner News and 417 Magazine.