Does the name Cathiss Nevergreen ring a bell? How about Eiffel Triffel?
No we aren't mangling characters' names from the hit book and movie “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins.
Cathiss and Eiffel are characters in “The Hungry Dames,” a spoof of the book and movie written and directed by Christopher Gieschen, a teacher at Concordia Lutheran High School. About 30 Concordia students will either be acting or working behind the scenes in performances of the production at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Cathiss Nevergreen is a play on the name of the heroine of the book, Katniss Everdeen. In Collins' three-book series, Katniss lives in a dystopian society in the future where children are culled annually from the “districts” and brought to the “Capitol,” where they fight each other to death, until only one child remains.
Gieschen's spoof turns everything from the original book on its ear, from the names of the characters (Eiffel Triffel is actually Effie Trinket in the books) to the games. In “The Hunger Games,” the games are deadly serious; in “The Hungry Dames,” the games are board games and card games, such as Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, and Euchre.
In the spoof, Gieschen delights in writing plays on words that reference the movie.
“People call those groaners,” he says. Yet the spoof does have an overall message, and that is “to beat somebody at their own game,” Gieschen said.
A teacher for 37 years at Concordia, Gieschen has written 15 original plays, most of them spoofs.
“I was seriously running out of ideas,” he said. “I've spoofed all the major genres.”
Then he thought, “why not spoof something current?” He loved the “Hunger Games” book and movie, and spent most of the summer writing the play.
Carolynn Stouder landed the lead role of Cathiss, a role she wanted “because Katniss is such a strong character,” she said. She has read the series of “Hunger Games” books.
“Oh, I was so into them,” she said.
Gieschen's play has a lot of the details from the movie, Stouder said, but without the violence. Nevertheless, Cathiss “still fights for what she believes in,” Stouder said, including fighting to restore decent government to her home, District 13.