Red Noses - NIU - School of Theatre and Dance

Red Noses

By Peter Barnes

Red Noses is a darkly comedic take on one of the most devastating events of human history. It is the mid-fourteenth century in Europe, when the Bubonic Plague, or the Black Death, was at its height. A Catholic monk embarks on a desperate and sacred crusade to serve God's will and ease man's suffering in the face of a pandemic which has no source, no cure and no escape. He eventually finds his weapon against chaos in laughter, and recruits a band of misfit performers in order to provide happiness, distraction, hope and dignity to the millions of people that face imminent death.

Although British playwright and satirist Peter Barnes presents a cheerfully nasty vision of the medieval Catholic Church, he really lets no one off the hook--every character is simultaneously tragic and ridiculous, whether historical or imaginary. Barnes' view of the world is one where humor is necessary for psychological survival and catharis.

"Cynicism is undercut by naiveté, naiveté by horror, horror by sentiment, sentiment by stupid jokes, stupid jokes by love, love by cynicism. Barnes' style amounts to a perpetual, Brechtian game of 'Paper/Scissors/Stone.' Red Noses has a playfulness that can be interchangeably vulgar, garrulous, or silly, showcasing writer Peter Barnes' extremely fertile and literate imagination." - Anthony Adler,

(This SoTD production is not affiliated with DeKalb CUSD #428)