An Inside Look at a Double Show Day

By Lizzy Andretta

In my three seasons performing at the Commonweal, I’ve never had to take on the task of performing in two shows that are running at the same time – until now. While I knew that doing these two shows would be very trying, I looked forward to being a part of two very fun pieces of theatre that I knew would help me grow. Here’s what a typical two show day looks like for me:


I start my day bright and early! After I drink my morning tea, I run whatever errands I need to do. Then I try to get a little bit of time in at the gym, because staying fit is very important given all the running and jumping I do in both shows.

Lizzy heading out for the day
Lizzy heading out for the day


Because we operate under an artist administrator model, not only do we perform/direct/design our shows, but we also have to run the place! Before the show starts, I usually try and get some admin work done at my desk. Sometimes it’s a tough balance to achieve, but doggy snuggles with Lucy always help!

Lizzy Andretta with Lucy, at work
Lucy helping Lizzy get some admin work done!


Then I go downstairs and sign in for Boeing Boeing. I try to get there earlier as I need as much time as possible to construct Gabriella’s Brigitte Bardot coif and put on a few layers of makeup, as well as doing a light physical and heavy vocal warm-up (both Molly and Gabriella, for all their differences, are both very loud opinionated ladies).

Lizzy prepares in the dressing room
Lizzy prepares in the dressing room


It’s show time! Boeing Boeing takes off for flight as I get to run around as the smart and dramatic Gabriella! It’s a fun, but very physical show. So by the end we are all quite tired. But that’s only one show for the day done!

Lizzy in makeup as Gabriella in Boeing Boeing
Lizzy in makeup as Gabriella in Boeing Boeing


Once Boeing ends, I go home and take a quick shower to remove the spray and product from my hair and have dinner before I’m called in for Peter and the Starcatcher. Since I wear my hair naturally, I can afford to come in a little closer to my call time.


Once in for Peter, I spend a lot more time doing heavy stretches (none of which I actually do in the show, but I like doing them to help my body get as limber as possible) and warming up my voice for the singing.

Lizzy Andretta stretching before Peter and the Starcatcher
Lizzy Andretta stretching before Peter and the Starcatcher


Show #2 officially starts! Peter and the Starcatcher is so much fun. I play Molly, the titular Starcatcher in training. With such a large cast, and so many moving parts, this show is an incredible adventure to go on!


At intermission it’s time to get into my mermaid outfit! Why? Well…you’ll just have to see the show to find out! It’s a pretty glamorous sight to behold backstage.

Lizzy in her mermaid costume for Peter and the Starcatcher
Lizzy in her mermaid costume


The show is done, which means my busy day is also over! After such a marathon, I go straight home, satisfied with a good day’s work. Plus there’s a matinee tomorrow to rest up for! Thanks for coming with me on this long, but fun, Saturday. We’ll see you at the Commonweal very soon!

Have you seen Lizzy in both productions yet? Make your plans now to join us for both Boeing Boeing, and Peter and the Starcatcher this summer! For Tickets —> Performance Calendar

A Feminist Farce: The Women of “Boeing Boeing”

A Feminist Farce: The Women of “Boeing Boeing”

By Rachel Kuhnle

Women in the Boeing Boeing cast backstage
The women of the Boeing Boeing cast pose in the dressing room
Boeing Boeing opened to audience acclaim on May 18th!

Rehearsing and performing Boeing Boeing sure is fun, but it’s a far cry from doing important, radical, earthshaking theatre… Or is it? Rachel here, looking for the feminist silver lining is a very unexpected place – the French farce Boeing Boeing.

One might assume feminism and farce are like oil and water, and sure, most of the time that probably is the case. But the women of Boeing Boeing are not to be underestimated – Gloria, Gretchen, Gabriella, and yes, even Berthe, are actually great role models!

For example…

Boeing Boeing is one of very few period farces where the women outnumber the men.

This really is a big deal. Despite theatre audiences being between 70-80% women, and the majority of theatre students being women, female characters on stage amount to only about 35% of all available roles. Even the Commonweal Theatre’s 2019 season only has 12 female character roles out of 35 total roles.

All four women in the script are named.

This might seem silly, but it’s very common in media, especially in film and television, for female characters to go unnamed – some studies find as few as 32% of female characters in television and film are named.

Gretchen, Gabriella, and Berthe are bilingual.

Ok, mostly, I just think this is cool. But hey – I’m making an assumption. They could speak MULTIPLE languages, not just two!

All four women are employed, speak intelligently about their work, and find some degree of identity and satisfaction in their professions.

Considering only about 38% of the workforce in 1960s was female, for all four women to be employed is pretty progressive. Will they stay employed once they marry? Who cares – that’s their choice!

All four women are knowledgeable about advancements in their field.

Of course, who wouldn’t be excited about turbo jets and a thrust of 19 thousand pounds?? These women must read Popular Mechanics.

They know what they want, they don’t need to be told what they want.

Think of your favorite love stories – how many of them are a guy-gets-the-girl scenario? It can be fun to watch guys pursuing girls with grand romantic gestures, but in those instances the guy is always “in the driver’s seat” so to speak. In Boeing Boeing, the women drive the action! Bernard and Robert are lucky – if Gloria, Gabriella, Gretchen and Berthe didn’t tell Bernard and Robert exactly what they want, Bernard and Robert would still be rolling around in their beanbags. And Berthe is worth every penny of that additional 40%!

Women in the Boeing Boeing cast backstage
The Women of Boeing Boeing (Left to Right: Lizzy Andretta, Rachel Kuhnle, Adrienne Sweeney, Elizabeth Dunn)

You don’t want to miss out on these incredible women in action. Be sure to catch a performance of the hilarious farce Boeing Boeing. For Tickets —-> Performance Calendar

The Makings of A Farce

By Brandt Roberts

When I am wandering the countryside like a rural maniac, the question I am most often asked is, “Where’s the nearest Wawa?” The second-most-often asked question is, “What’s a farce?” The answer is Hamburg, PA. The second question will require an in-depth exploration.

First and foremost, a farce is a comedy. A comedy is not a tragedy. The word tragedy comes from the Greek word tragoidia, meaning “goat song.” If you have ever heard screaming goats, then you now have a comprehensive knowledge of tragedy. Tragedy deals with the fall of a man from a high status. Comedy deals with men of a low status falling. Tragedy is focused on philosophical explorations while Comedy is focused on carnal explorations.

Brandt is well known to Commonweal audiences for his physically demanding and hilarious performances (Charlie’s Aunt, 2015)

Naturally there is a spectrum to comedy. On the high end is comedy of manners, which satirizes high society and concentrates on wit. Farce is found on the low end and concentrates on the common man and his lack of wit.

The word farce is probably based on the French word farcir—to stuff. When dramatic presentations were more of an event farce was used to fill the time between the screaming goats. On a basic level, the word farcir also suggests the genre is stuffed chockfull of physical bits, gags and other tomfoolery like a Thanksgiving turkey at a boardinghouse for clowns.

The humor stems from an everyman wanting to have his cake and eat it too. As we follow the exploits of the fellow striving to achieve the ludicrously impossible, the situation becomes increasingly more absurd. Thus entertainment is born. After all, the main purpose of any comedy is to entertain. I have had a lifelong love affair with farce and clowning. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Throughout life I have found that laughter is indeed the best medicine.

Lizzy Andretta (Gabriella), Rachel Kuhnle (Gloria), Elizabeth Dunn (Gretchen) and Josiah Laubenstein (Bernard) in Boeing Boeing, May through August.
Boeing Boeing begins performances on May 10th!

The fact that farce is on the low end of the comedy spectrum does not mean that it is “less,” but that it is more accessible to an audience. A fall does not have an age restriction or a language barrier: it is universal. This is why clowns are sent into refugee camps and hospitals. They can impart their medicine freely without the need of a prescription. To me, there is no greater honor than to share a healing laugh with an audience.

If you are in need of medicinal laughter, then come and visit the Commonweal theatre and become immersed in the zany world of Boeing Boeing. You’ll be glad you did. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find a closer Wawa…    

Don’t miss Brandt’s work this season, as he appears in both Holmes and Watson, and the hilarious Boeing Boeing. For Tickets —-> Performance Calendar