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‘Monstrous Regiment’ explores gender with comedy
Gainesville Theatre Alliance presents play Feb. 16-24
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Actors perform during a dress rehearsal Tuesday, Feb. 13, for the play "Monstrous Regiment," put on by the Gainesville Theatre Alliance. - photo by David Barnes

“Monstrous Regiment” is a fantasy show about a girl who pretends to be a boy so she can join a war in order to find her brother.

“Normally we would have a drama and a comedy,” said Gay Hammond, director of WonderQuest at the Gainesville Theatre Alliance, said about their season. “So yeah, it’s a little different. I think these are unusual times.” The alliance is also showing “Avenue Q,” an R-rated puppet show.

"Monstrous Regiment" was written by Terry Pratchett, who has a large fan following and has written a number of comedic novels. The play will be performed by the alliance Feb. 16-24 at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus at the Ed Cabell Theatre.

‘Monstrous Regiment’

When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16, 18, 20-24; 2:30 p.m. Feb. 17 and 24

Where: University of North Georgia’s Cabell Theatre, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood

How much: $18-$20 adults, $16-$18 seniors and $12-$14 students

More info: 678-717-3624

Hammond said this comedy is a little different than other comedies. It can be “a bit tender” while still being funny and illustrating different gender-related topics. That’s something the alliance, made up of students from Brenau University and the University of North Georgia, is kind of leaning into. 

While "Monstrous Regiment" isn’t necessarily political in nature, it follows "Avenue Q" in its commentary on social issues.

“It says things about — asks questions really — about gender and what we expect about each other as well as things about war and government and people,” Hammond said. “Terry Pratchett always has a lot of very, very different characters, including different species, and that enables him to sort of funnily and subtly say things about acceptance or expectations or how we treat each other.”

That’s what drew Geanna Funes, who plays the lead role of Polly, to the show. She said she likes how Pratchett uses the supernatural to get across what it means to be a male or female. And the cast is enjoying that as a whole, too. They said they feel the topics in these shows need to be talked about, and doing that through a play makes it a little easier.

“Theater has always had its way of communicating in almost that nondirect, direct way,” said Funes, a junior at Brenau. “I think that's exactly what these shows do for us — allow us to let people know what we believe and how things can be handled in different ways.”

It’s still a comedy, though, which Hammond said makes the social commentary easier to take and understand.

Hammond said there are some double entendres and a few curse words throughout the show so it is rated PG-13.

The students are ready to start performing the show in front of a live audience. Funes said rehearsals just aren’t the same, especially with a Terry Pratchett show.

“I honestly can’t wait to have an audience because us rehearsing a comedy isn’t as funny,” Funes said. “We need that laughter. I’m definitely excited to have people come see this show.”

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