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'The Gods of Comedy' at Westminster Community Playhouse

From Left Front: K. Arnold and C. Lovett. Back: J. Bancroft, K. Dierking-Porras, J. Augustin, J. Bastian and K. Mai.

Gods helping humans, the way gods do.

By Dana Hammer

As some of you may know, I just released a middle-grade novel called Fanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother Problem. In it, the reincarnation of Dionysius is down on his luck after losing his wine business and enlists a bunch of middle schoolers to help him with his wacky business schemes. So, stories about Greek gods messing with modern-day humans are kind of my jam, which makes me super excited to tell you all about “The Gods of Comedy,” which is coming to Westminster Community Playhouse. Not just because I can shamelessly plug my novel, but because the themes we get to explore when ancient morality is thrust into a modern framework are juicy, fun, and enjoyable for all audiences.

“The Gods of Comedy,” written by Ken Ludwig and directed by Greg Stokes, is the story of Daphne and Ralph, two classics professors who make an exciting discovery — they’ve found a lost manuscript! It’s “Andromeda” by Euripides. Obviously, this find is important for their careers and for our understanding of classic literature.

From Left: Kamaryn Mai and James Bastian (Photo by Greg Stokes)

But then, unfortunately, Daphne loses the manuscript. Distraught, she cries out for help and accidentally summons Dionysius, the god of wine and partying, and Thalia, the muse of comedy. The gods are eager to help, but they’re Greek gods, and so their help is not the straightforward, efficient kind a simple human might hope for. Shenanigans ensue.

Director Greg Stokes says, “I have always enjoyed Ken Ludwig's plays whether watching them or being involved in them. When I read the “The Gods of Comedy” play, I actually laughed out loud, and that is unusual for me to do…I visualized the play on Westminster's stage as soon as I read it and really wanted to direct it.”

For those who may not be familiar with Greek mythology, it’s important to note that the Greek gods were not considered to be infallible or above mockery. They were flawed, jealous, vengeful, lustful, silly, loving, cruel, and really no different from humans, except for the fact that they had supernatural powers. That’s one of the things that makes the Greek pantheon so fun to play with in modern art. Yes, they have enormous power, but no, they do not always use that power wisely, which leads to all kinds of comedy and tragedy — perfect for a stage play. Stokes says, “Dionysus and Thalia bring so much humor to the story and help mess things up. Ares’ arrogance just makes it easier to laugh at him.”

Front Row: Caroline Lovett. From Left Back Row: Kamaryn Mai and James Bastian. (Photo by Greg Stokes)

Many who know the stories of Greek mythology might be wondering if this play is family-friendly, as many of the exploits of the gods are…less than squeaky clean. Stokes says, “Anyone who needs an evening of laughter and a bunch of silly should come see this show! There are many jokes in the show that younger kids won't get. There are very few bad words in the show, but there is romance and messed-up romance in the show. Just enough to make you laugh even harder.” 

When we call upon ancient knowledge to guide us in our modern pursuits, that can sometimes be a helpful and grounding experience. And when we call on ancient stories to help us understand our own experiences, that can be edifying, giving us new perspectives. But when we call on the old gods to help us in our art — that’s magic. So come experience the magic of “The Gods of Comedy” at Westminster Community Playhouse. 

Dana Hammer is the author of “My Best Friend Athena,” “Fanny Fitzpatrick and the Brother Problem,” “The Cannibal’s Guide to Fasting,” and numerous plays and short stories. She would like to hang out with any of the muses, but would find Dionysius exhausting. 

“The Gods of Comedy”

Westminster Community Playhouse

7272 Maple Street, Westminster, CA

March 8 - 24, 2024

(714) 893-8626,

From Left: Kevin Arnold and Julianne Bancroft (Photo by Greg Stokes)

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