BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College Theatre Department will open the 2018-19 season with a production of Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Mandrake, a mischievous play celebrating its 500th anniversary this year.

Performances are scheduled for Nov. 1, 2, and 3, at 8 p.m., and Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. in Wailes Theatre, located in Steinman Hall.

The plot unfolds as young Callimaco (Jon Sadar of Dillonvale, Ohio) is determined to seduce Lucrezia (Savannah Fisher of Kidron, Ohio), the beautiful young wife of old Lord Nicia (Mike Lyons of Beaver Falls, Pa.). Callimaco and his scheming friend Ligurio (Kerry Kerr of Lawrenceville, Ga.) exploit Nicia’s desire to have a child by telling him that if Lucrezia drinks the potion of the Mandrake root, the next man who sleeps with her will certainly impregnate her. But there’s just one catch. That man will also die, thus, creating the means to Callimaco’s end!

Helping with the scheme are a corrupt friar, Brother Timothy (Josiah Lashbrook of Meadville, Pa.), Lucrezia’s mother, Sostrata (Aubree Gray of Moundsville, W.Va.), and Callimaco’s servant, Siro (Keith Hardt of Bethany, W.Va.).

“I’ve been fascinated by this play for a long time,” said Director of Bethany College Theatre Luke Hardt. “It’s a happy coincidence that we decided to do it on its 500th anniversary. What we’ve learned (or re-discovered) is that with its combination of zany characters and its unabashed moral relativism, it still has the power to elicit laughter and shock.

“Wallace Shawn, the translator, says it’s either a cynical indictment of human behavior or a celebration of free-spirited pursuit of happiness. To paraphrase a slogan: We perform. You decide!”

Admission is free or by donation. For reservations or more information, call (304) 829-7124.

About Bethany College

Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.