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‘Incorruptible’ a dark comedy that makes light of history

James Pendleton, left, plays Brother Felix and Jeff Bryan plays Brother Martin in Interplayers’ production of “Incorruptible.”
James Pendleton, left, plays Brother Felix and Jeff Bryan plays Brother Martin in Interplayers’ production of “Incorruptible.”

It’s 1250 in Priseaux, France. The local monastery has hit a rough patch. It seems the relics of its patron saint, St. Foy, aren’t bringing in the pilgrims they used to. The coffers are empty, and the monks find it hard to keep themselves fed, let alone help the villagers in need of assistance.

It’s the opening of Michael Hollinger’s “Incorruptible: A Dark Comedy About the Dark Ages,” which will come to the Interplayers stage beginning tonight.

A scurrilous minstrel, Jack, happens upon the hapless monastery, and the monks rope him into perpetuating a fraud: passing off bones from the nearby cemetery as relics – the bones of saints – with tremendous healing power.

It’s a story director Patrick Treadway said is really quite funny.

“I sort of refer to it as almost a historical novel,” he said. “It is based on things that actually happened to ordinary people but they are extraordinary circumstances.

“Our hope is that at the end of this comedy that there is some deep thinking and conversation about what does occur when healings happen at holy relics,” he said. “I hope it’s a great conversation starter.”

The play sports an eight-person cast, one of the larger casts to grace the Interplayers stage in some years, Treadway said. The strength of Hollinger’s work – Interplayers staged his “Opus” in 2011 to much acclaim – was one of the main draws, Treadway said.

“We were willing to investigate anything this fella has written,” Treadway said. “I think (Interplayers) chose an eight-person play because the playwright is so reliable.”

The rehearsal time has been a bit tight, he said, because Jerry Sciarrio, who plays Charles, the head monk, was playing Max in “The Producers” at Spokane Civic Theatre.

“We’ve got a terrific cast, really professional, which is the reason we could get away with such a short rehearsal period,” he said. Among the faces new to Interplayers are Sofie Spilman, as Marie, and Christopher Rounsville as Jack. Rounding out the players are Jeff Bryan, Jeffrey Sanders, James Pendleton, Kate Vita and Jone Campbell Bryan.

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