V. Mark Covington

Fantasy/Humor Novelist- Playwright

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"Through the haze of last night's rum, something wicked this way comes."

In Frog Level, Virginia, Monetgue Hills and Capulet acres are two trailer parks in a bitter rivalry over NASCAR drivers.  Will star-crossed lovers Hameo MacBreath and Barbie-Q Bacon deny their drivers and become lovers? Will Hameo discover who killed his father, bakery owner Cheese MacBreath, the Danish King? Was it his uncle, and denture thief, Scotch MacBreath? And what of the three mysterious psychics predicting the future over a cauldron of Brunswick stew. 



Shakespeare in the Trailer Park Debuted at Barnstormers Theater in Ridley Park, PA, April 1-3 and 8-10, 2011 to great Reviews


Playbill cover designed by Bonnie Watson



The Delaware News Journal

Raucous play combines Shakespeare, trailer park

12:22 AM, Apr. 5, 2011  

 Written by

Special to The News Journal


WHAT: "Shakespeare in the Trailer Park" by V. Mark Covington and Sharon Cacciabaudo

WHEN: Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.

WHERE: Barnstormers Theater, Ward and Tome streets, Ridley Park, Pa.

INFORMATION: 610-461-9969 or www.barnstormers theater.com

It's an Elizabethan afternoon and a raucous, rowdy, unwashed rabble is enjoying a raucous, rowdy, pratfall- and pun-packed Shakespeare comedy in London's Globe Theater.

Wait! Fast-forward. Now it's the raucous, rowdy, pratfall-, pun- and double-entendre-packed world premiere of V. Mark Covington and Sharon Cacciabaudo's uproarious cornpone comedy, "Shakespeare in the Trailer Park," now on the boards in Ridley Park's Barnstormers Theater.

This very clever cockeyed (three) witch's brew of bubble-bubble-boil and Southern discomfort is the Bard's rhythms and blank verse, reconstituted with the spot-on Southern twang of the raucous, rowdy, oversexed, beer-swilling -- and, of course, feuding -- denizens of the Montegue Hills and, yes, Capulet Acres rural trailer parks near Frog Level, Va.

Call this "Hee Haw" with depth, respect and heart. And the sheer goofiness of pastiches like Shakespeare's famed "I am a mere shadow of my former self," now proclaimed by the ghost of the extreme wide-bodied clan leader Cheese McBreath, work only because the play sits firmly on a well-drawn script and a better-than-adequate troupe directed by Wilmington's Marsha L. Amato-Greenspan.

Seven other Delawareans are involved, including scene-stealing Timothy Sheridan as a quivering, half-witted trailer park rent-a-cop; set and effects designer Mike Enyedy; and techies Steve and Peggy Fullett.

With the inevitable pink flamingo lawn ornaments, named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and groaners like, "Aye, there's the Vapo-rub!" this production needs only more consistent pacing and some first-act editing to be an even more rewarding and solid A-plus.

Barnstormers, America's third-oldest community theater group, is about a half hour from Wilmington.



A new spin on Shakespeare at Barnstormers Theater

Published: Thursday, April 07, 2011


Shakespeare stole or borrowed the plots and characters of most of his major plays. He then filled the stories with humor, philosophy and sex, both to suit his own personal tastes and the demands of his Elizabethan audiences.

V. Mark Covington and Sharon Cacciabaudo’s “Shakespeare in the Trailer Park,” now in a world premiere at the Barnstormers of Ridley Park, offers a funny, fitting homage to this tradition. The setting: a pair of warring trailer parks, Montague Acres and Capulet Hills, about to be invaded by the “many tectacled Wall of Mart.”

Here, the play weaves the storylines from “Hamlet,” “MacBeth” and “Romeo and Juliet” while throwing in one shady character from “The Merchant of Venice” and “The Tempest’s” titular storm. In this mash-up, the exiled Scotch MacBreath (Patrick D. O’Neill) returns home after a 10-year prison sentence for stealing old people’s false teeth. He encounters three “People of WalMart-” style witches, who promise him a future of riches, women and title. Well, at least as much as he can get from a double-wide kingdom.

But first, he must do away with his brother the “Danish King” Cheese MacBreath (David Palmer), Cheese’s revenge-driven son Hameo (Ted Kogut), and his rival, the “BBQ King” Macon Bacon (Bill Starcher). Each man takes his title from the appropriately named trailer trash industries - a donut shop and a barbeque stand. Instead of fighting with swords, they square off with spatulas and whisks.

Throw in a few allusions to the Romeo and Juliet story - Hameo pines for the rival park’s stripper - and a bumbling, daft security guard named Doughnut (Timothy Sheridan) and stir all of these in a pot full of Shakespearian intrigue, incest and possible parentage, and well, if you know the stories of “MacBeth” or “Hamlet,” you know the plot that “Trailer Park” follows.

Covington and Cacciabaudo lighten the journey by playfully mocking Shakespeare at every turn. The Bard’s grand turns of fate now boil down to the outcome of a NASCAR race. MacBreath and his clan suffer a genetic allergy to BBQ sauce, leading to wonderfully absurd rumors of “I hear he sauced himself” during a murder investigation.

The two playwrights deftly switch from iambic pentameter to blank verse while transforming some of Shakespeare’s best lines and speeches into wacky one-liners and apt zingers. Scotch explains his drunken behavior with, “I was so trashed I wouldn’t know a hawk from a hand saw;” Doughnut deplores the paucity of his welfare checks in rhymed couplet and the witches narrate each new arrival with variations of “By the itching of my bum, something greasy this way comes.”

At the Barnstormers, the production yields mild, though consistent laughter that doesn’t always capture the clever humor of the script and the more confusing sections of the play trip up the action. O’Neill, Starcher and Kogut ably manage the flippant delivery of rhymed verse but only Sheridan gambles his entire performance on the spirit this play demands. Every moment he’s on stage, the audience responds raucously.

And why shouldn’t we? Shakespeare knew what his audiences wanted and gave it to them. Opera caters to modern tastes with librettos based on Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith. The Jersey Shore’s Pauly D as Hamlet? He could pull it off in this Trailer Park.

If you go: “Shakespeare in the Trailer Park” continues April 7-10 at the Barnstormers Theater, Ward and Tome streets in Ridley. Call 610-461-9969 or visit www.barnstormerstheater.com.


Stage Magazine



Lila Achuff

– April 3, 2011Posted in: Reviews

Hear ye! Hear ye! Cometh to the Barnstormers in Ridley Park, PA to enjoyeth Shakespeare as never before-eth. OK, enough of that-eth … I had to do one more. Readers, this is truly different. (I’m still snickering.) If you don’t mind the words and soliloquies of Shakespeare being butchered in this original “hillbilly” production, then go but don’t say I didn’t warn you. And make sure your sense of humor is on full volume. Actually, crazy as this might sound, it’s not a bad idea to go twice (ouch!) because some of the lines go by so quickly that you miss a lot while you’re still thinking, “Did I just really hear what I thought I heard?” In all this, throw in drinkin’ and a-cussin’ and a-fussin’ and spittin’ (oy!) and…no, do not bring the kids. Don’t even bring your parents! But you can bring your (almost) worst behavior. My guest found it all very, very funny. I really didn’t feel well so my sense of humor was still at home. (I have to blame my lack of laughter on something.)


David Palmer (Media/Springfield PA) Cheese MacBreath; Gina Valania (Glasgow DE) Wormseba; Cindy McHenry Starcher (Hockessin DE) Varmenta/Plumrose; and Nancy Kersey (Newark DE) Fishbate in Barnstormers Theater's production of SHAKESPEARE IN THE TRAILER PARK running through April 10 in Ridley Park, PA.

It’s cabaret seating and BYOB which I really didn’t believe when I first heard it. At intermission we were reminded to make sure we cleaned up after ourselves and take home our own “crap”! You heard it here, folks.

You’re familiar with “Macbeth”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Merchant of Venice” and “Hamlet”. Now bring your knowledge of these plays to Frog Level, Virginia where the trailer park of Capulet Hills is feuding with that of Montague Acres over which one will remain standing after a new Walmart will replace the property of the other. Meanwhile, their love for Nascar racing equals their hate for each other. Add to these beer guzzlin’ characters a southern drawl, beer bellies (ugh!), big-busted gals about to burst outta their costumes, very high heels and rag-tag clothing. No high culture experience here. Cans of beer are on ice in the washing machine. Where else? And there’s enough incest around to fill up a whole crossword puzzle…use your imagination!

One thing that might have been the foam on the beer for me might have been a hee-haw cloggin’ kind of dance. Why not? Get this! Two pink flamingos, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, played themselves. Ya gotta see it to believe it!

There was a Q ‘n A with the two writers of the play (V. Mark Covington and Sharon Cacciabaudo), along with the cast and director, Marsha Amato-Greenspan, which I found rather interesting. I liked hearing that even they find much impromptu acting occurring within the show that surprises them. The actors were pointing to the character of “Doughnut” (Timothy Sheridan) who excelled in this. I wasn’t surprised then that I considered him to be clever and gutsy in his “crazy” performance. When each company puts its own “twist” on things, then one can almost never quite know what to expect. Also, the writers remind us that in the Shakespearean era, plays were lengthy (up to four hours!) and were meant to be comical for the times.

Well, all my redneck friends, in this bawdy, naughty spoof of Shakespearean plays, “All’s well that ends well.”

Ya gotta love it!

Until the next show…

by V. Mark Covington and Sharon Cacciabaudo
Directed by Marsha Amato-Greenspan
April 1 – 10, 2011
Barnstormers Theater
402 Tome St
Ridley Park, PA 19078




Hot Wenches and Hard Whisks

"That which we call a hog would taste as sweet by any other name."

So there you have my evening: pig and Shakespeare.

 Things got rolling at Six Burner where change is a-brewing.

 Already the door in the back corner of the restaurant has been uncovered, thus providing natural light in a notoriously dark corner.

 Booths will soon go missing, a banquette is coming and, best of all, a menu with more options for the wallet-challenged.

 Until then, half-priced wine night will have to suffice and it did magnificently with $3.50 glasses of Gavi.

 On top of that, I broke my no-cocktail rule and tried a cilantro gimlet with sugar/chile rims, a lovely warm weather refresher, the recipe for which the bartender had stolen from his favorite piano bar in the West Village.

 I think I must have been crazed by all that sunlight pouring in the back door to drink something so uncharacteristic.

 Deciding about what to eat was easy: house-made Cotechino pork sausage came with toothsome lentils and broccoli rabe; any bite which included all three was superb.

 Then there was local asparagus ('tis the season) with escargot barigoule in a lemongrass sauce and a roasted garlic custard that got my vote for best savory pudding ever.

 Can I put in my vote for more like it on menus?

 While discussing Matt dressing up as Marilyn Monroe to sing happy birthday to a Ukrop (oh, it'll happen) and the difference between serving bar food and knowing good food, we looked up to discover it was Shakespeare time.

And not just any Shakespeare, but a Richmond Shakespeare Second Tuesday staged reading of "Shakespeare in the Trailer Park" at the Gottwald Theater.

 Could there be a better use of my time after a meal of snails and Cotechino?

 The play turned out to be a pastiche of "Hamlet" ("My father's spirit roams these trailer parks") "Macbeth," "Merchant of Venice," "Romeo and Juliet" and probably any number of others I wasn't able to catch in the fast-paced story.

 The action took place in Frog Level and began with three witches stirring a pot of Brunswick stew made with road kill and magic mushrooms.

 I may have found this even more hysterical than the rest of the audience since I have actually eaten Brunswick stew in Frog Level.

Mine had neither street scrapings nor hallucinogenic fungi, but I was told I could find a husband if I came back.

 And for the record, I've also eaten a salt fish breakfast in Frog Level, but that's another story.

 The story revolved around competing families of chefs versus bakers ("You fondle meat, I beat the batter") who lived in double wides ("Double wides are twice the trouble") in warring trailer parks (Montague Acres and Capulet Hills).

 The dialog was cleverly written combining Shakespearean rhymes and language ("What light by yonder bug zapper breaks?") with modern references ("Forsooth, I am mellow").

 The raunch factor was high ("I pray another part of thee is as hard as thy whisk"), frequent ("She's curdled my codpiece, the hot wench. Let's shack up") and non-stop ("It would have killed the mood if thee were butt ugly").

A pair of pink flamingos, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, were "trusty pink spies," moving side to side when they overheard some juicy tidbit.

 The cast was completely on point, bringing the NASCAR-obsessed, incestuous characters to life as they battled over which trailer park would be the last one standing when the new Walmart got built.

 As you might expect, there was something rotten in Frog Level.

 Once Cheese MacBreath was sauced, it was up to his heir to punish the murderer ("To sauce or not to sauce, that is the question").

 When the guilty parties have been poisoned with tofu-laden barbecue sauce, the perp, Homeo MacBreath, awakens to find his beloved, the very hot Barbie-Q Bacon, dead by the dagger attachment on her Swiss Army knife.

 His despair was evident. "No more shall I nail her."

 If ever Shakespeare missed an opportunity to write a play, it was this one about tong-brandishing chefs, cold ones kept in the Kenmore, chefs who train at Blackensburg Culinary College, and spirits who roam the trailer parks to vindicate their untimely death.

 The kind of trailer park trash who say of their own, "He swaggers a lot like a drunken sailor and eats us out of home and trailer."

 Wisely, playwrights V. Mark Covington and Sharon Caccuabaudo (present in tonight's crowd) kept the trademark couplets so evocative of the Bard, even while having  the characters mock their own rhyming language.

 "Through the haze of last night's rum, something wicked this way comes."

 Wickedly  funny, well directed and engagingly performed, it was the kind of play that left my motor revving like a stock car, with a huge grin on my face and a desire for a good whisk.

 Luckily, the play had advised me how to deal with that aftermath.

 "Find someone who will lick the sauce."

 You gotta love a staged reading where they say it all out loud.