The Odd Couple Romp, Part 7
The theatre is quiet; there are still 30 minutes to go before the cast arrives for their Friday night rehearsal. I'm here earlier than normal, primarily because I am also wearing the hat of stage manager while Natalie is off on vacation. I don't mind. This is good thinking time, a chance to focus on where we are and where we are going.
"This play is going to make you pee your pants laughing," I said to some colleagues at the office today. I can almost hear the giggles and the chortles imagining the first audience that will take these seats on May 14th. The writing of Neil Simon, the context of the story, and the talent of these performers is going to combine for an unforgettable night of fun. The certain laughter is going to be the last element of the show and will require significant adjustments on the part of the actors. It is a delicate dance knowing when to carry on with your lines without stepping on the audience.
In many ways, this play would easily be enjoyed with nothing but a bare stage and a few sticks of furniture and some representative props. At the beginning of Act 3, Zenon Campbell, the actor playing Felix, wheels an imaginary vacuum cleaner around the set. Even though you can't see it, we totally believe it is there, even as he gathers up the cord and takes it off stage.
The next month will see the addition of many layers: costumes, props, set, lights and audio. The world of Oscar Madison and Felix Ungar will take form as the actors divorce themselves from their scripts and anticipate their three-evening run (May 14-16).
The Stage 2 series is an opportunity for theatre artists to develop, as actors, stage managers, designers and directors. The venue is smaller (Recital Theatre), the budget is lower (we make do with what we can re-use or recycle) and the run is shorter. I am grateful to have been given this opportunity to work with this extraordinary ensemble. They are a delight to watch.
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