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Harlequins rumored to tackle comedy - Online Exclusive

by Brianna Bush - Executive Editor
Tue, Oct 29th 2019 01:35 am
The Harlequin Performing Arts Club put on `Rumors` at Tower Fine Arts Oct. 25-27. The project was kept very under wraps until the night of the play to enhance the viewing experience.
The Harlequin Performing Arts Club put on "Rumors" at Tower Fine Arts Oct. 25-27. The project was kept very under wraps until the night of the play to enhance the viewing experience.

Entertainment is based on human interest and, for the most part, humans find significance in something they weren’t necessarily supposed to hear. Gossip is one of those things that attract the psyche and bring intrigue with them. 

Giving The College at Brockport its own taste of rumors, the Harlequins Performing Arts Club presented “Rumors,” written by Neil Simon, at the Blackbox Theater in Tower Fine Arts. The show ran Friday, Oct. 25, until Sunday, Oct. 27.

 In order to keep the mystery going, the Harlequins decided to not disclose any information regarding the plot of the show — allowing attendees to ponder what might happen.

“We tried to keep things a little more on the downlow for this show because a lot of the humor comes from the not knowing of the entire show,” Harlequin President and Producer Regina George said. “No one actually knows the whole story.”

True to her word, George, who portrayed Cookie Cusack — a manic TV chef with chronic back pain — and the rest of the cast gave the audience a performance full of surprises. 

“Rumors” opened with Chris Gorman, played by Jenna Croswell, pacing nervously across the stage. The audience later learns she is pacing because her friend Charlie Brock was shot through his ear and no one knows how it happened.

It is later explained the house Chris is currently in is Charlie’s house and she and her husband, Ken Gorman, played by Brian Fedeli, are only there because of Charlie’s 10th wedding anniversary.

Throughout the play, it is clear each actor had to know exactly what was going on in the moment or else the joke they were trying to get across would be lost. 

“This show [has] a lot of comedic timing,” George explained. “There’s a lot of lines that need to be memorized, and if one person messes up a line, it can throw off the entire show.”

George continued to explain there was a lot of work that went into making it “as perfect as you can possibly get.” 

“Compared to other shows, you can kind of ‘fake it till you make it’ sort of thing,” George said. “With this show you need to be on top of everything.”

Not only did “Rumors” present some obstacles for the cast, but it brought on a challenge to first-time director Christina Wildridge.

“It was kind of intimidating at first, but when you have a cast and crew like I had, it was really easy once I got into it because I knew I had everyone’s support behind me and the Harlequins have been very supportive of me,” Wildridge said.

The work the cast and crew put into the show did not go unnoticed by the crowd. Each of their interactions were timed to comedic perfection, from Cookie’s random outburst of pain while being questioned by the police, to Lenny Ganz’s (Zach Verdaasdonk), monologue as he told the police the story of how Charlie — while pretending to be Charlie — was shot.

New to the stage, Katie DiPirro portrayed Officer Welch, the officer who questioned each of the guests. DiPirro explained some of the difficulties she encountered while rehearsing for the play.

“I struggled [with] learning lines because I didn’t understand how anybody did that,” DiPirro said. “Knowing exactly how to show which emotions and when, and theater terminology because I’m not even a theater major. So not knowing it and hearing everyone say it and kind of learning to get to know it made that easier.”

DiPirro was not the only actor who had difficulty with learning the cues for “Rumors,” all the actors involved had to memorize and know exactly when to come in, so the audience would be able to detect the underlying comedy of the play.

While “Rumors” ended its short stint in the Blackbox Theater, more shows will be performed in the space throughout the semester. 

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