What do Mark Twain, Rachael Ray, Ken Burns and Dante Aligheri–no relation–have to do with one another? They’re just some of the characters showing us around the classical Underworld. Life and death, love and loss, union and reunion, anything can happen in this divine comedy.
THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE UNDERWORLD follows several different stories of people trying to connect with one another, whether as lovers, as family or even as professionals. Some of the stories include:
— Clara Clemens searching for her father, Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain
— portions of a Ken Burns documentary following a historic expedition to explore the Underworld
— a writer named Dante pitching a movie producer on a film about a poet in Hell…
— a troubadour with memory problems, and the woman who loves him…who’s always loved him…
— a father and son team of explorers, plumb the depths of woe in the waters of the Underworld
In the midst of all this, the play also features movie trailers, cooking segments, vacation advertisements, tour guides, figures from mythology and more.
“In some ways, the show is a vaudeville of stories woven in and out of one another,” says director Santner. “Have you ever wondered what an ad for vacations in Hell might be like? Or an action film as directed by Ken Burns? That’s just some of what we’ll see in David’s vision of the Underworld.” The show’s sense of humor is evident from the promotional artwork, which looks remarkably like a subway system…
“But it’s more than just a comedy,” adds Loehr. “Like life, these stories move from light to dark, funny to serious and back again. We tried to treat the world of the play with respect–this is the afterlife, after all–but it is a play named for a non-existent tour book, so…”