1/3/2015 3:47 AM
The characters of the 8 Nit Wits are incredibly written and leave enough room for younger actors to begin experimenting with choices and the creation of a character's back story. The story is infectious; we immediately know our two male leads are up to trouble but we cannot help but root for them to succeed. This show, while nowhere near a classic, will be one the cast, crew, and audience will remember as their own intimate theatrical success. I highly recommend it to high schools and community theaters everywhere. This show undeniably builds a community within the cast. It's well written with pages of back-and-forth (even slapstick) humor. It is obvious how much the playwright wants you to enjoy yourselves. Anyone who is somewhat interested in the production should certainly check out the play and give it the life it deserves.
Set wise, you'll need an obvious exit and entrance (SL and SR worked fine) and a staircase leading upstairs. The more room you have to create a second platform - the better. It helps with the chase scenes and (your own) creative location-ing of the Nit Wit characters as they show up. Our upstairs platform had "invisible walls" so the audience could see into the bedrooms while the characters could not see out of them. Prop wise, the show requires an average household set up: couch, tables (2), chairs, a bookshelf, lamp/s, et cetera. Since the show doesn't really have a following, you have a lot of creative licensing with the look of the Winter family's household.
ONLY WARNINGS: The site lists the show as contemporary but Glenn Hughes certainly wrote it to remain in the early 20th century. Lines like "confound it" will not work for anyone hoping to modernize it up. Also, the ending is unavoidably weak but should not distract from the production value if your cast is ready to be the beloved caricatures Hughes has created. There are lines (and even two characters specifically) that refer to romantic (even sexual) relationships, but only in bleak innuendos. Nothing too obvious or painful. I'd rate the production PG.
I directed this production in May 2014 at Bonner-Prendergast Catholic High School. Two nights, overflow crowds at both. Many people came back because they were in love with the story line. It's a hilarious show. Like I said, I recommend you give it the life it deserves and it will reward you no doubt.