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Tech theater department debuts its performance of ‘Rumors’

July 13, 2017

 

The theater department’s production of “Rumors” will run until May 7. – Photo by Colin Fontenot

Dillon Nelson
Staff Reporter | djn005@latech.edu

 

Tech theater department will stage Neil Simon’s “Rumors” May 3-7.

 

The play is a two-act farce about the hijinks of a group of socialites during a 10th-anniversary party for the deputy mayor of New York and his wife. 

 

Paul Crook, director, said he believes this play to be one of Simon’s funniest works and is pleased to be able to bring Neil Simon’s only true farce to Tech.

 

“A farce is characterized as pushing ordinary characters into extraordinary circumstances and seeing how they react,” he said. “This is strictly plot driven as opposed to being based on already humorous characters.”

 

Crook said “Rumors” is made accessible by the farce genre’s similarity to classic television sitcoms like “I Love Lucy” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

 

“We have people running around with disguises and people keeping secrets,” he said. “The good thing about this production is that we have a very talented, experienced cast, and that allows me to kind of sit back and watch as they experiment with different ideas and styles during rehearsals.”

 

Millie Omps, a graduate theater major and movement consultant, said movement is very important to this production because it is essential to the fun, rapid pace of the play.

 

“Due to the heightened nature of a farce you need to have some movement that accentuates the fun,” she said. “We have a couple of big falls that we have to make sure the cast is doing safely and a couple of people running into doors, so my job is to get them to do their stunts the best they can without getting hurt.”

 

Omps said her experience in upper level stage combat courses and workshops have come in handy during the production of such a physical play. She said she has taken what she has learned and added it to the process of taking actor’s movement step-by-step.

 

“Once they have basic idea of the movement pattern, then we start a adding physicality and speed and picking up the pace,” she said. “They all took to this process pretty quickly, have all been game for anything and have been really vocal on wanting to do well with it.”

 

Omps said there was a stunt moment during the play involving a piece of furniture that was extra challenging to execute.

 

“I don’t want to ruin it for any potential viewers, but it’s something to look for,” she said. “The big thing, which people will understand when they see it, is that it’s a moment where if you don’t know what you’re doing,  it could go very wrong very quickly.”

 

Olivia Willcox, a junior communications major, will play the role of Connie Cooper in “Rumors.” She said the comedic timing in the play is key, so she and her fellow actors tried to flesh out each notable moment as much as they could.

 

“Since it is a farce, the timing on the comedy is very important as it drives the show forward, so we have really worked hard on our comedic timing and where the funny bits happen,” she said.

 

Willcox said she is particularly proud of the work she and the rest of the cast did on the door-slamming in the play. She said she feels the cast has worked hard to master the script and has come a long way.

 

“With the door slams that you will be seeing a lot in the show, we had to really work on the timing  because we have people running in and out of doors throughout the entire show, and it is hysterical,” she said. “To see where it started in rehearsal and to sit here now in our last dress rehearsal is pretty extraordinary, and I think our audience is in for a treat.”

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