Nov. 9 2011 12:00 AM

’Stratagem’ follows two foppish fortune-hunters



Wes Haskell, a third-year master of fine arts student at
Michigan State University, says “The Beaux’ Stratagem” is a step away
from the kinds of guys he usually portrays. “I tend to play the "nice
guy-next-door" roles, and Archer, at least at the beginning of the
story, is not what one would call a gentleman,” Haskell said.  

Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of George
Farquhar’s 1707 Restoration comedy follows Aimwell (Brandon Piper) and
Archer (Wes Haskell), foppish fortune-hunters who travel through the
English countryside, attempting to seduce wealthy women and swindle
them out of their fortunes.

Haskell says that although he has never married a woman
just to steal her money, he has been desperate for things in his life
and can relate to Archer’s ambition.

Haskell chose Archer as his thesis role because it
presents numerous challenges he has tried to overcome through training.
A heightened language period piece has allowed him to try mixing two
dialects of standard British and Cockey, along with physical combat

 “Our director
has been very adamant about maintaining a spirit of play among the
actors, so we are constantly playing and switching things up in
rehearsals to keep things fresh and alive,” Haskell said.

Guest artist Edward Daranyi — previously the assistant
director of Stratford Shakespeare festival — directs the production;
MSU theater professor Christina Traister serves as fight director and
dialect coach.

Haskell, Piper and the rest of the cast will participate
in a post-show discussion of the comedy and its themes at the 7:30 p.m.
performance on Nov. 17.

’The Beaux’ Stratagem’

Michigan State University Theater

Auditorium Theatre

8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11; 2 and 8 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 12; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17; 8 p.m.
Nov. 19 and 20; 2 p.m. Nov. 21

$13; $10 for students