An original comedic play sets King Arthur and his trusty adviser/wizard Merlin out on a duck hunt, discussing everything from relationships to the dynamics of power.
The short title of the play is "My Leg or Something or Another," written by local playwright Craig Domes. The longer title, which should give an indication of Domes' sense of humor, is significantly longer and includes the name of a short musical prelude:
"My Leg or Something or Another: A Theatrical Work Wherein King Arthur Accompanied by Merlin Makes a Day of Hunting Duck Including A Prelude 'The Musical Stylings of Sigmund und Amalia Freud Son und Mother.' "
The play stars Jeff Medley, a familiar face from local theater, as Merlin; and Alexsa Prince as King Arthur. Prince, a recent University of Montana graduate, most recently starred in "Holocene," a science-fiction play staged at the Palace last year.
Locally, Domes has staged his own work under the name Search for a Lost Dog Productions, including a full-length play, "Don't Take It So Lightly," in 2012.
Domes said he had been looking to write a play about the dynamics of power, when he found himself out on a duck hunt. An absurdist image of a wizard and king out on such an expedition stuck with him, and he began working on the script.
Domes was never much of a King Arthur fan as a kid, and began researching the legendary figure, whose wife Guinevere cheated on him with the knight Lancelot. (Hence the knight-to-wizard, man-to-man discussion of marital relationships.)
His main influences on this script were P.H. White's fantasy novel "The Once and Future King," the Marx Brothers and Dostoevsky.
Regarding Russian thinkers, Domes said the duo will discuss the nature of challenges - such as those whose position in life provide them with challenges versus ones presented by "random happenstance."
Co-director Caitlin Hofmeister said the Arthur of the play is still young, naive and innocent. He's come to power, but doesn't yet know how to wield it - one of the elements that balances the humor with poignancy.
Domes and Medley collaborated before on a play that also had its fair share of heavy questions: a well-received production of Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" in 2012 at the Crystal Theatre.
Medley said "My Leg" has something of a Monty Python feel with Domes' "own unique twist."
That means Shakespearean riffs, science-fiction tangents, and a sense of whimsy that can accommodate a wizard on a duck hunt with an anachronistic shotgun (made of papier-mâché.)
"(We're) referencing things from that time and the present and everything in between," he said.
Hofmeister said Domes' writing has a "unique, banterly humor and rhythm."
Medley noted that it has its share of language that might not be appropriate for all age groups.
"We get pretty excited when we're out hunting ducks and we use very colorful language," he said.
Speaking of language, the prelude - about the famed psychoanalyst and his mother - has exactly as many double entendres as you'd expect.