Don’t call me a silly goose!

Posted 5/26/09

“Do me a favor. Have a mint… (repeated several times if necessary)” is straight out of Gogol’s story, sending up an overly polite mannerism …

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Don’t call me a silly goose!


“Do me a favor. Have a mint… (repeated several times if necessary)” is straight out of Gogol’s story, sending up an overly polite mannerism as his characters urged pinches of snuff on each other.

The script follows the Russian author’s dialog and story line quite exactly, with overdrawn officials and citizens, interpreted for our delectation by the quirky minds at Buntport Theater.

“The Squabble” is based on a mid-19th century Nikolai Gogol story: “How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled With Ivan Nikiforovich.” Gogol’s tale of social interactions in a small, muddy Russian town of Mirgorod, translated to “World Town” in Buntport’s spin, is clearly a tongue-in-cheek poke at pretentious people and customs. Perfect material for the Buntport crew of six Colorado College graduates. They collaboratively writes clever original plays, often based on literary classics, and stage them in a most imaginative manner.

“The Squabble” opened May 16 with a backdrop of big, red long underwear hanging on a clothesline. Three tall thin suits and three shorter, fat ones, suitable for the two neighbors at the center of the story. Along the fences more items are hung, and additional clotheslines surround the two small yards and extend beside the theater seats, holding an assortment of grubby rags. Just as Gogol described the scene more than 150 years ago — so vividly one can almost smell the sow and the mud.

Instead of long, hard-to-pronounce Russian names, we are given long, hard-to-pronounce English names: Tall thin Eric Edborg plays careful, precise Bob Boxinoxingworth, while Brian Colonna, in fat suit and bald wig, is short, stout Bob Luggalollinstop, neighbor and close friend — until, in the course of an argument about ownership of a gun, one calls the other “a goose!”

Explosions, fussing and legal action follow.

Each character has distinctive issues and patterns. Evan Weissman, as the “well-spoken pig,” serves as narrator, ala “Our Town’s” stage manager, while occasionally, he is One-eyed Bob Boxinoxingworth instead.

Hannah Duggan, a skilled comic, alternates between inept Judge Alfred Fredfredfredful and local moocher, Tony Tumblestumpington, while Erin Rollman inhabits bossy servant Wanda Wickerstickly and police chief Peter Apropopanoosh, who is rather hoping the pig will be turned into sausage — and that he’ll receive some.

Bob L., the offended one, builds a goose house at the edge of his neighbor’s yard, which is cut down in the dark of night — further cause for indignation! Each expects the case to be resolved in his favor any day…

Imaginative staging is always a strong point here, as is the clever writing these talented folks generate. One would enjoy being a fly on the wall during creative sessions.

If you go

“The Squabble” plays through June 20 at Buntport Theater, 717 Lipan St., Denver. Performances: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays June 7, 14. Tickets: $16, $13. 720-946-1388,


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