Have you heard?A dinner party quickly devolves in a chaotic spiral of mistaken identities, bizarre misunderstandings and an ear-shooting in Neil Simon’s “Rumors,” showing at the Arts Center next week. “This is a very fast-paced farce,” said Lori Dorr, director. “It is probably one of the funniest things these guys have ever done.” “Rumors” will be the third Simon play for the Second ACT Community Theater group, and the one with the largest cast onstage together — five men and five women.
By: By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
A dinner party quickly devolves in a chaotic spiral of mistaken identities, bizarre misunderstandings and an ear-shooting in Neil Simon’s “Rumors,” showing at the Arts Center next week.
“This is a very fast-paced farce,” said Lori Dorr, director. “It is probably one of the funniest things these guys have ever done.”
“Rumors” will be the third Simon play for the Second ACT Community Theater group, and the one with the largest cast onstage together — five men and five women.
As a farce, the play relies on unexpected and improbable situations that happen at a rapid pace, requiring its actors to have impeccable comic timing.
The action revolves around an anniversary party thrown by the deputy mayor of New York City, and the party’s elite, fashionable guests.
Unfortunately for the party planners, absolutely nothing goes as planned, and as the guests arrive throughout the course of the play, events start to spin out of control, starting with the disappearance of the kitchen staff and the wounding of the deputy mayor.
“The first couple that gets there — they discover that something unforeseen has happened, and they’re trying to contain everything that’s going on before the other couples arrive, so that no rumors get started in the media,” said Shelly Andersen, who portrays Chris Gorman in the play.
Chris and her husband, Ken Gorman, played by Joel Blaha, form that unfortunate first couple, whose efforts begin to backfire almost immediately.
“(Ken) tries to keep it together, even when things aren’t going his way,” Blaha said. “… when things aren’t going this way, he gets a little more defensive.”
As the other guests start to arrive — Claire (Sarah Cole) and Lenny (Jack Waters) Ganz, Ernie (Joe Tews) and Cookie (Chris Shepherd) Cusack, and Glenn (Ben Rodgers) and Cassie (Melissa Goodrich) Cooper — the situation becomes more and more ludicrous and harder to explain to police officers Welch (Bill Nybo) and Pudney (Sharon Exner).
The cast started rehearsing before Thanksgiving, shifting their personal schedules to make time to practice.
“It really showcases huge talent for the Second ACT group,” Dorr said, noting that some of the actors had been cast for roles very far out of their comfort zones.
The show also does contain some adult language.
Many off-stage helpers have also lent their efforts to the show, including carpenters Kim Gilbertson and Mike Fields of James Valley Home Improvement, who built the sets. Sponsors for the production are RM Stoudt, Zimmerman’s Furniture, Infinity Lumber, Stutsman Glass and ProBuilders.
Proceeds from the show will help fund after-school programs at the Arts Center, Andersen said.
“If you’re looking for a night of good food and good clean fun, and a night’s entertainment, then this is exactly what you’re looking for,” Blaha said. “It’s a farce. It’s a comedy. It’s light-hearted.”
“Rumors” begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan. 24-26, and a matinee will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26.
Tickets for the evening dinner theater are $20 for Arts Center members at $25 for non-members. Matinee tickets, which do not include dinner, are $10 for members and $15 for others.
Tickets can be purchased at the Arts Center or by phone at 251-2496.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org