Community Players to stage two one-act comedies

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Community Players present two one-act comedies, Peter Shaffer’s “Black Comedy” and Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Inspector Hound,” at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury from Feb. 11 to 14. Thursday through Saturday shows are at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday.
“Black Comedy,” Shaffer’s (“Equus,” “Amadeus”) brilliant take on classic farce, is the riotous story of the most important meeting of Brindsley Miller’s career. A struggling sculptor, he finally has the chance to show his works to the world’s wealthiest man. But moments before the billionaire’s arrival, a power outage plunges the neighborhood into total darkness. (The audience, of course, can see everything.)
Throw in surprise visits from the spinster upstairs and the antique dealer next door, the unexpected arrival of his fiancée’s disapproving father, and his mischievous ex-fiancée’s arriving with a plot to reenter his life, and suddenly the apartment is filled with schemes, misidentifications, and near misses as the characters grope their way, unseeing, toward catastrophe.
“The Real Inspector Hound” is Tom Stoppard’s (“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” “Jumpers,” “Travesties”) hysterical parody of the English drawing room murder mystery. Two critics watching and commenting on the premiere of a new play find themselves inexplicably drawn into the story, forced to become characters in a mystery where the stakes prove to be deadly. Bordering on the surreal, “Hound” combines ingenious plotting with Stoppard’s trademark wit and verbal wizardry.
“The Real Inspector Hound,” directed by Trent Campbell, and “Black Comedy,” directed by Kate Tilton, feature talented local actors. Tickets are $12 for the Thursday show and $17 for the Friday through Sunday shows, and can be purchased at the THT box office Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m., by calling (802) 382-9222, or online at

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