In 1250 A.D., a group of French monks were among the first to enact an economic stimulus plan to ease their monastery’s financial woes – and the results are hilarious.
Incorruptible is billed as a “Dark Comedy for the Dark Ages” that explores how even the most holiest of humans can bend their principles to justify wicked behavior.
Set in a catholic chapter house, the Marathon Community Theater’s first performance of the new season begins with the haggling over a prayer. A peasant woman’s cow has contracted mange, and she persuades Brother Martin to settle for a button instead of the usual penny to pray on the bones of the monastery’s patron saint.
“I can’t afford this, but I have to do something,” says the peasant woman, portrayed by Annie Miners. “Her milk’s dried up, her hair’s falling out…her gums are bloody!”
The ridiculous shenanigans of a desperate clergy then become amplified as they debate the final resting place of a dead Jew bagged and stacked on their floor and how to fill their coffers by attracting a big name act, like the Pope, to stack their pews.
Penned by playwright Michael Hollinger and directed by Marathon Community Theater veteran Marilyn Tempest, the conflict of good vs. evil and right vs. wrong comes into play by the end of the first act.
“The challenge with this is that it delivers a difficult, everyday message in a very irreverent way,” Tempest said.
Bring out your dead – for profit
When the morally compromised monks learn of a one-eyed minstrel who scored 30 gold pieces by pulling a fast one on the neighboring monastery for a bag of bones falsely labeled as a patron saint, the sight of a deceased Jew ignites a medieval light bulb.
FATHER CHARLES: So what you are saying is: if…in theory, we…boiled this man’s bones…we could sell him to another church as St. Philip?
JACK, THE ONE-EYED MINSTERAL: As long as they don’t have him.
The clergy cast is comprised a foursome of bearded locals who are no strangers to the Marathon stage. Arnie Steimetz and Alan Andrews play the elder monks who fret over their dwindling collections and the constant snubbing of the Pope as he continually visits the rival monastery down the road.
Eric Rolfe and Martin Dillis appear as the younger brothers. One is torn by his beliefs; the other is plagued by more apparent goal – unearthing the bones of the dearly departed.
The one-eyed minstrel and his would-be wife are brought to life to steal the show by Justin Ahearn and Maria Luther, who are introduced as the peasant woman’s daughter and husband.
Valerie Taylor rounds out the cast as Agatha, Father Charles’ sister from that monastery down the road.
The second act begins with the cast and set considerably more “well-to-do” that before the raping of the cemetery, but other problems appear – like the dwindling corpse supply and the impending arrival of the holiness himself.
Incorruptible opens November 12 and runs through December 5 with performance every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm. Sunday matinees are at 3pm. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (305) 743-0408 or visit www.marathontheater.org.
1) not subject to decay or dissolution.
2) a saint so holy its body does not decay.
It is the best of times for the rag-tag group of monks in a 13th century French monastery at Priseaux. The river flooded again and the economy is in shambles. The abbey’s patron saint hasn’t produced a paying pilgrim or a miracle in 13 years. Where have the tourists gone? The destitute monks feel their faith is slipping away until they cross paths with a cunning one-eyed minstrel, who shows them an outrageous new way to fill their empty coffers any pay old debts.
– Marilyn Tempest
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet will shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” I Corinthians 15:52
The Incorruptible cast, clockwise, from upper left; Eric Rolfe, Justin Ahearn, Arnie Steinmetz, Valerie Taylor, Alan Andrews, Martin Dullis, Marilyn Tempest, Maria Luther and Annie Miners.
“In nominee patris, et fili, et spiritus sancti…Amen…Cut him up.”