A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Prologus enters, welcoming the audience to the theatre: a temple to worship the gods of comedy and tragedy. He assured the audience that tonight's presentation will be a comedy, and then goes on to explain the specifics of what is about to ensue (“Comedy Tonight”). Prologus and the Proteans perform bits of pantomime, until the curtains open to reveal the set. Prologus introduces the characters and the setting. On a street in Rome sits three homes in a row: the houses of Erronius, Senex, and Lycus. Erronius is a befuddled old man, searching abroad for his son and daughter, kidnapped by pirates during their infancy; Senex is an old man living with his wife, Domina, their son, Hero, and their slave, Pseudolus (who will later be played by Prologus; Lycus is a “buyer and seller of beautiful women”. Next, Prologus introduces us to the Proteans, three actors who will play many characters throughout the show. The entire company enters and finishes the opening number.
The play begins with Hero on his balcony, pining over Philia in the window of the house of Lycus. Senex exits the house and tells his slaves (played by the Proteans) that he and his wife are about to journey to visit her mother in the country. Domina, clearly the head of household, orders the slaves to fetch their belongings, and calls for Hysterium and