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Act 1 Presents The Devil's Disciple

by Matthew Smaldone '20 | Jan 29, 2018

A Revolutionary Comedy by George Bernard Shaw

Devil's Disciple - DeSales Act 1Act 1 DeSales University Theatre continues its 2017-2018 season with George Bernard Shaw’s classic comedy, “The Devil’s Disciple.” Set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, Shaw weaves an unlikely story of sacrifice and honor in this ingenious mixture of comedy, adventure, mistaken identity, and romance. The production, directed by Professor of Theatre, Wayne S. Turney, with original music by Chair of Theatre Dennis Razze, runs February 21 to March 4 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley, PA.

“The Devil’s Disciple” is set in 1777 America. Upon hearing of his father’s death, rascal Richard “Dick” Dungeon, the black sheep of the family, returns home in all of his irreverent, yet charming glory. Dick’s disrespectful attitude and debaucherous lifestyle compels a visiting minister to warn him of the impending danger posed by the occupying British forces, fearing they would hang him as a rebel. However, unbeknownst to the Minister, it is he who is in danger. In a twist of fate, Dick is mistaken for the Minister and allows himself to be arrested in order to save the Minister from being hanged. As chaos ensues, the Minister and his wife must decide whether to allow Dick to proceed with his heroic act, or save him from the hangman’s noose. The result is a charming comedy that is as much hilarious as it is heartwarming. “‘The Devil’s Disciple’ is part political protest, part romance and part masquerade—all the makings of a great melodrama,” says performing arts division head John Bell. “It’s great exposure for our student actors and a crackling comedy which I know our audience will love.”  

George Bernard Shaw, was born in 1856 Dublin, Ireland. After a tumultuous childhood, he relocated to London in 1876 and became a leading arts critic, specializing in music and theatre. He began writing plays to best exemplify his criticisms of the stage. His most notable works are “Pygmalion,” “Arms and the Man,” and “Major Barbara,” among many others. He became known for his incredibly witty dialogue cut by thick and weighty criticisms on social hypocrisy. This can be seen in “The Devil’s Disciple,” personified by the titular character, Dick Dudgeon, who charmingly exposes the hypocrisy of puritanical society through clever jests and insults.

Professor of theatre, Wayne S. Turney directs the production. “This very American play by the most British of British playwrights, ‘The Devil’s Disciple’ has held the stage since American actor Richard Mansfield created the irreverent Dick Dudgeon in 1897,” says Turney. “Its success cemented Shaw’s reputation as a popular playwright, and the play is as witty and engaging as ever. I’m having a high old time revisiting this play, which I first played 40 odd years ago, and finding it as much or more fun than it was back then. It’s got everything: a tangled love story, danger, action, comedy—a fun and thought-provoking way to spend an evening in the theatre.”

Act 1’s creative team brings the American Revolution to life with sets by faculty designer Will Neuert and costumes by faculty designer Amy Best. Alumna Allison Newhard ’15 returns to design the lighting.

The production runs February 21 to March 4 on the Main Stage of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. There is a morning matinee on Monday, February 27 at 9:45 AM, followed by a talk back with the director and cast. A talk back is also scheduled for Sunday, February 25 following the 2:00 PM performance.

In an effort to improve accessibility for all patrons, the Saturday, February 24, 8:00 PM performance will feature Open Captioning for patrons who are deaf or hearing impaired and Audio Descriptions for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. During Open Captioned performances, all dialogue and sound effects are presented in real-time on an LED screen that is adjacent to the stage. During Audio Described performances, all action and physical appearances are described live through a headset. Tickets are half price for patrons using these special services on this date. Please call box office manager Nicole Moyer at 610-282-3654, ext. 1 for more information.

Ticket prices are $21 for adults and $19 for students and seniors on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $25 for adults and $23 for students and seniors on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Group discounts are available for all performances. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Labuda Center box office at 610-282-3192 or by visiting the web site at

The Labuda Center is fully accessible and equipped with a listening enhancement system. Special seating is available for our patrons using wheelchairs or requiring other assistance. Please inform the box office of your needs when ordering tickets. 



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