Beckwith Theatre ends season on comedic notePublished 9:37pm Thursday, September 27, 2012
The last play of the season for Dowagiac’s Beckwith Theatre will take a comedic turn as the cast debuts “A Bad Year for Tomatoes.”
The play, written by John Patrick in 1975, follows the story of famous Hollywood actress Myra Marlowe who escapes to the quiet Beaver Haven in Vermont to find some peace. In the midst of trying to complete her memoirs, Myra soon realizes she can’t escape her crazy world as neighbors begin popping in and disturbing her work. In an effort to shoo them away, Myra invents a psychotic sister Sadie, whom she portrays in a wig, to scare them off until the local handyman, Piney, played by Tony Meloche, begins to pine for sister Sadie. But when the sister suddenly disappears in order to deter her admirer, the local sheriff investigates accusations of murder from none other than Myra’s nosey neighbors.
“It’s definitely a palate cleanser,” Rebecca Maxey, in the role of Myra, said Thursday. “The season has had some very serious productions.”
First-time director Jack Gannon, who appeared as Father Flynn in the previous production of “Doubt,” said the ease of preparing for the play came from veteran actors and a lighter subject matter.
“They’re working with wonderful characters, and it’s fun to see the way they interact,” Gannon said.
Peggy Gannon, Jack’s wife, plays the role of Reba Harper, a nosey neighbor, along with Wendy Elsey, who accompanies
Reba as Cora Gump. She said that, because the seven cast members have an understanding of their characters, rehearsals have been fun.
“We all like who we’re playing and how we get to play them,” Peggy said.
Mary Ann Bengtsson, who plays Willa Mae Cox, said the chemistry of the cast helped form the characters’ bond, something the audience will be able to pick up on.
“We knew about acting in theater before coming in, and we all understood our characters well from the beginning,” Bengtsson said.
A major focal point of the play is Maxey’s character. By portraying both Myra and sister Sadie, Maxey has taken on double the work to bring both characters to life, as well as interact with the rest of the cast.
“She’s not an observer,” Gannon said.
Maxey agreed, saying the insanity begins to surmount with each scene.
“Here she is coming to get some peace, and she gets everything but that,” Maxey said.
Audiences will receive some reprieve from the chaos in Zach Gassman’s character, Tom Lamont.
“The play needs Zach as that touchstone of sanity amongst everything else,” Gannon said.
Newcomer Tom Malloy, who plays the sheriff, said he is excited for the production’s debut and has enjoyed the experience.
“It’s a little daunting at first, but I am just amazed by them (the cast),” Malloy said. “It’s going to be a great show.”
“A Bad Year for Tomatoes” runs at Beckwith Theatre, 100 New York Ave., Dowagiac, at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 6, 12 and 13, with matinee showings at 2 p.m. Oct. 7 and 14.
Call the theater for tickets at (269) 782-7653.
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