Theo Maske, a respectable government clerk, has an unusual problem: his wife’s underpants won’t stay on. Ever since the young woman’s unmentionables accidentally fell down around her ankles—in the middle of town—her husband has fretted that he will lose his respectability, his job, even the opportunity to rent out their spare room. This last fear soon turns out to be unjustified; suddenly, it seems every man in town is eager to become their new tenant.

Corn Stock Lab Theatre presents The Underpants, which is comedian Steve Martin’s adaptation of a 1910 German farce by Carl Sternheim. Martin took what was essentially a political and marital farce and turn it into an exploration of the vagaries of fame.

The premise remains that of the original: In 1910 Dusseldorf, during a full-dress military parade, the wife of a petty state bureaucrat drops her underpants as the Kaiser rides by. Was it an accident? Or was it a Freudian slip by a sex-starved, neglected, bored housewife? Public scandal leads to notoriety, which leads to a brief flirtation with potential seducers who glimpsed her private parts, which leads to 15 minutes of dubious fame before the housewife is discarded back into obscurity.

A top-notch cast of audience favorites has been assembled at Corn Stock. Chad Kirvan plays Theo Maske, the boorish husband. Megan Thomas is Louise, the naïve wife whose unmentionables thrust her into the spotlight. Parrish Worsfold portrays Versati, a flamboyant poet vying for Louise’s affection, while Bob Manasco plays Cohen, a sickly barber and Versati’s competitor. Barb Worsfold is Gertrude, the nosy upstairs neighbor trying to live vicariously through Louise. Bob McLaughlin rounds out the cast as Klinglehoff, a prudish scientist who finds himself at the home of the famous underpants.

The show takes place at 7:30 p.m., December 2, 3, 8, 9, and 10, and at 2:30 p.m., December 4. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $7 for students. For more information, call 676-2196. AA!