McLean Community Players RumorsBy Michael Clark • Apr 26th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
McLean Community Players: (Info) (Web)
Alden Theatre, McLean, VA
Through May 4th
2:15 with one intermission
$16/$14 Senior, Student
Reviewed April 20th, 2013
Did you ever have one of those days where nothing goes right? You have a car accident. You’re late to an anniversary party. The kitchen staff are missing. The dinner’s host has shot himself. We’ve all had days like this. But everything all at once is something different. And that’s the basic situation Neil Simon has created in Rumors.
Director Rosemary Hartman has created a funny show. There’s no moral to be told here (other than maybe “keep your lies straight!”) or deeper message. The humorous tension builds throughout the show, ending with a fabulous monologue delivered with energy by Chuck Dluhy.
Each of the four couples contributed their own touch of style to the evening, making for a pleasurable performance. Chris and Ken Gorman (Ruth Nevill and Tom Flatt) kicked things off with high energy confusion. Claire and Lenny Ganz (Jina Leigh Ames and Chich Dluhy) brought their own mishap into the dinner party, and slipped ably into the coverup role as they learned exactly what was happening. Ernie and Cookie Cusack (Steven Rosenthal and Joan Zeigler) were the most down-to-earth couple. Glenn and Cassie Cooper (Michael Clendenin and Shannon Benton) brought a bit of negative energy to the proceedings, but that of course added to the fun. Officers Welch and Pudney (Stephen Smith and Erin Gallalee) were sensible as they attempted to take control of the party.
Susan Boyd’s lovely costumes added a nice splash of color to the scenery. Skip Gresko’s set was wonderfully functional, with the upstairs hallway allowing for much action as the guests raced around dealing with their contrived situations, although the lack of a handrail on the lower stairs was an odd decision.
McLean Community’s presentation of Rumors was well-executed and will bring laughter.
Notes from the director
Neil Simon has been showered with more Academy Award and Tony nominations than any other writer, and is the only playwright to have four Broadway productions running simultaneously.
I have directed a good number of Neil Simon plays over the years. One of the appealing things about his plays is that he has the ability to write characters that are flawed. They have foibles and faults but they are human beings. They are not all bad or all good; they are the people we know. In his plays, Simon uses humor as a relief, but also as a defense, an escape or as a weapon. He tries to show people how absurdly they live their lives, and he sees there is a connection between pain and laughter.
Rumors is Simon’s only farce (to date). Farce permits the actors to perform in a slightly more exaggerated manner than usual, and there is much more wacky physical comedy than you might see in a regular comedy. There is much running up and down stairs, opening and closing of doors. Farce is a form that has been inspired by the plays of Moliere and Feydeau among others.
In exploring the script the actors and I sought to walk the fine line between farce and slapstick. These are real people who are caught up through no fault of their own in ridiculous situations, and like a snowball rolling downhill, the ridiculousness builds and builds to the point of insanity.
We hope you enjoy watching Rumors as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.
Photos by Traci J. Brooks Photography
- Chris Gorman: Ruth Neaviell
- Ken Gorman: Tom Flatt
- Claire Ganz: Jina Leigh Ames
- Lenny Ganz: Chuck Dluhy
- Ernie Cusak: Steven Rosenthal
- Cookie Cusack: Joan Zeigler
- Glenn Cooper: Michael Clendenin
- Cassie Cooper: Shannon Benton
- Officer Welch: Stephen Smith
- Officer Pudney: Erin Gallalee
- Myra: Alex Lee
- Producer: Sydney-Chanele Dawkins
- Director: Rosemary Hartman
- Stage Manager: Terry Yates
- Assistant Stage Manager: Alex Lee
- Set Design: Skip Gresko
- Sound Design: Jon Roberts
- Light Design: Bob Zeigler
- Set Dressing: Jocelyn Steiner
- Technical Director/Program/Website: George Farnsworth
- Costume Design/Hair and Makeup: Susan Boyd
- Assistant Costume Design: Kate Walsh
- Props Manager: Emily Besuden
- House Manager: Columba Hoban
- Master Electrician: Nathan Devonshyre
- Set Construction: George Farnsworth, Bill Glikbarg, Bernie Gmiter, Dick La Porte, Bob Schroth, Terry Yates, Dick and Sheila Young
- Sound Operators: Bernie Gmiter, Jon Roberts
- Running Crew: Cathy Farnworth, Candice Newman, Mary Renschler, Claire Tse
- Marketing: Laura Dailey, Tula Pendergrast
- Publicity Manager: Kathy Farnsworth
- Media Relations: Brent Stone
- Photographer: Traci Brooks Medlock
- Open and Closing Night Hosts: Tula Pendergrast, Bunny Bonnes
- Auditions: Jennifer Levy, Tula Pendergrast, Denise Severino, Claire Tse, Kate Walsh
Disclaimer: McLean Community Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. MCP also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio web site, which did not influence this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/9415.