2nd ACT to perform 'Sweeny Todd,' 'Conflict' this week

arts center play with three.jpg
Cast members rehearse a scene from "Conflict" on Thursday, Nov. 14, at The Arts Center. From left are Brenda Fischer, Bill Nybo and Alyssa Smith. John M. Steiner / The Sun

If you go

What: “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “Conflict"

When: 6 p.m. (dinner), Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 21-23

Where: The Arts Center

Tickets: $35 per person, $25 for Arts Center members (includes dinner); call the Arts Center, 251-2496, or purchase at



Director Bill Nybo said he chose the plays “Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “Conflict” for 2nd ACT to perform because he liked them.

"I spent a lot of time at the library reviewing plays and these were the two that seemed to be a lot of fun," he said.

The community theater group performs the plays Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 21-23, at The Arts Center. Dinner will be before the performance, with meat pies as the main entree in keeping with “Sweeney Todd,” Nybo said.

“Sweeney Todd” is a dark comedy “rooted in the dime novels of the England back in the 1830s,” Nybo said. “Sweeney Todd is sort of an anti-hero, a folk hero, a villain. He's a barber who likes to murder people."

Nybo said audiences are used to 2nd ACT doing comedies and a dark comedy isn’t something that different.

“The characters are over the top, outrageous, they're fun people. This may be 1830s England but can we still see big chunks of ourselves in them, the silly parts especially," he said.

The cast includes seven people. Sweeny Todd is played by Joel Blaha, with his wife, Melissa Blaha, playing his girlfriend, Miss Claudette Mincey, a mince meat pie vendor.

Other cast members are Katie Morehouse, in the role of Cherry Goodenough; Darin Hassel as Jack Heartright the Inspector, and Brenda Fischer, Carrie Roemmich and Dina Laskowski, who perform small roles of "people who get wacked," Nybo said.



Nybo said the central idea in “Conflict” is that if you don't have conflict on the stage in any production, it’s boring.

"It's comedic, but instead of calling it a comedy I prefer to call it more of a spoof ... we're making fun essentially of the theater in 'Conflict,'" he said.

“And so what we do is highlight the many ways that we do conflict in life on the stage and we make fun of it,” he said. “The set is pretty sparse, we don't really need much of a set. There's only one major prop and that's a cantaloupe."

There are six characters in the play, with the main characters the Narrator and the Protagonist, Nybo said. The Narrator throws various types of conflict at the Protagonist, who demonstrates to the audience the various forms of conflict that a hero can be put through.

The synopsis of the play reads: "a very amusing explanation of how we crave stories in which the protagonist experiences all kinds of hardship."

Darin Hassel is the Protagonist, while Warren Abrahamson is the Narrator.

The other four cast members are Antagonist 1 (Nybo), Antagonist 2 (Joel Blaha), Woman 1 (Alyssa Smith) and Woman 2 (Roemmich).

Performing for the first time in the 2nd ACT productions are Abrahamson, Smith and Morehouse.


Nybo said “Sweeney Todd” runs about 45 minutes, and “Conflict” is a little shorter. A break is planned between the plays.

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