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By Chris Marchand
The local cast of Theatre 17’s production of Rumors, a play by Neil Simon, is prepared to titillate audiences with comedy and mystery over three nights this week.
The play will be staged May 4, 5 and 6 at the Centre with showtime set for 6:30 p.m.
Preparations shifted into high gear over the weekend as cast and crew learned the ins-and-outs of an impressive two-storey set during dress rehearsals, Sunday and Monday.
Coming off Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, the cast moves from a Victorian farce to a modern one — the tale of an upper crust anniversary party gone awry.
“Whereas Earnest was more cerebral, this one is completely different,” says director Judith Hamilton. “It’s much more slapstick, much broader humour. The characters are really classic. There’s a sort of mystery at the beginning. They all show up for an anniversary party and the host and hostess aren’t there. The whole play is centred around ‘what happened’?”
The play stars an ensemble cast Steven Pritchard, Julija Graham, Darlene Fuerst, Rob Rodgers, Jason Roussin, Theresa Lambert, Dayna Debenedet, Peter Marshall, Brittany Cook and Patrick Keewatin.
“They work really well together — they feed each other and feed off each other. That’s part of the fun of production, getting to know some people we didn’t know before. It’s been very smooth. We didn’t get started as soon as I would’ve liked. It’s been about nine to 10 weeks of solid rehearsal and that’s it. Usually we do 12-14. Having said that they’re where they need to be, because that’s just this group. There have been some challenges and they’ve risen to them.”
The elaborate set is a sight to behold, a custom construction by Jeff Cook.
“Jeff Cook and Kate Cook (decorator) both worked on it. Jeff designed it and solved all the problems. He’s a great guy to work with because he reads the script and he can see what has to happen and then he designs a set that works. He’s a problem solver.