U of C’s lazy lump

By Michelle Blackwell

In essence, Mollusc means a lazy lump. Yes, that’s the subject of the latest mainstage production on campus.

This month, the University of Calgary Drama Department presents The Languid Lady; or, The Mollusc by Hubert Henry Davies, a comedy about an upper-class English woman whose comfortable life is turned upside-down when her brother comes to visit.

"It’s absolutely a comedy," says Whitney Huget-Penner, a fourth-year drama student who plays Delcy, the Languid Lady. "It’s also a show you could bring family to or that an older audience would enjoy."

The Languid Lady, performed by four senior undergrad students and directed by Professor Barry Yzereef, deals with the goings-on of a lazy woman in a predictable wealthy British household when a new character is thrown into the mix.

"Delcy’s life is perfect. She lives with her husband, her children and her governess and everyone does everything for her," explains Huget-Penner. "When her brother comes to visit, he kicks everything up. He falls in love with the governess and throws a monkey wrench in everybody’s gears."

As an actress, Huget-Penner finds the role of Delcy Baxter very demanding.

"There are two big challenges as an actor in this role," Huget-Penner says. "One is to have energy but be languid at the same time. If I’m lazing around on stage, no one’s going to care; no one’s going to want to watch."

Making Delcy realistic was another difficult part in her performance.

"She’s manipulative, but it’s gentle manipulation," she says. "I have to play her in such a way that the audience doesn’t hate her the moment she walks on the stage."

Huget-Penner is confident that the audience will relate to the comedy in The Languid Lady.

"All four of the characters in the show are very identifiable as people you know," she says. "You know the woman who asks you to pass everything, everyone knows someone like that. Everyone knows the go-getter brother who’s always trying to stir things up or the poor doddering husband who’s just trying to keep people pleased. Even the governess is just a young woman trying to make her way in life and not sure where to go with it. They’re not distanced characters for having been written about a hundred years ago."

Overall, Huget-Penner found her experience with this production a very positive one. "This is probably the most fun I’ve had on a project since I’ve come to the University, mainly because it’s a smaller project," she says. "I guess that’s one of the things I enjoy the most about doing theatre, finding someone else’s journey and living it."


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