Considerations for Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Topics: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Love, Plautus Pages: 2 (667 words) Published: November 19, 2012
1. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a musical written by Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove, and Larry Gelbart. The three collaborated on the work, which had a Broadway debut on May 8, 1962. It ran for a total of 964 performances and closed on August 29, 1964. 2. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is the title of this work. This leads us to believe the play will be a comedy and that many “funny things” will occur. As one will soon notice, the play parodies many aspects of Plautus’ work Pseudolus. 3. The cast list is enclosed with the play.

4. The play takes two hundred years before the Christian era, on a day in spring. The action occurs on a street in Rome, in front of the houses of Erronius, Senex, and Lycus and is continuous, with only one intermission. The theatregoer knows that the work will be a comedy; also, provided one has knowledge with Plautus’ play, he may have a general idea as of the plot of this parody. 5. The major conflict is Pseudolus vs. Miles Gloriosus. Pseudolus, trying to gain his freedom from Hero, tries to thwart Miles’ purchase of Hero’s love interest, Philia. The inciting incident is when Hero informs Pseudolus that he can be free if he arranges them together. Without this happening, the rest of the events of the play would never have happened. Some complications arise when our protagonists learn of Philia’s impending sale to Miles. Also, Senex sees the opportunity for an affair with Philia because she thinks he is Miles; he thinks she is a maid. The climactic scene occurs when the watcher discovers that Philia and Miles are the long lost children of Erronius. Thus, Miles voids his purchase arrangement for Philia; Philia can marry Hero and Pseudolus gains his freedom. 6. The overall situation in this work is the fact that Hero wants to marry a beautiful virginal woman. If he did not have this desire, Pseudolous would not have managed to concoct such a great tale, and win his...
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