LAKEWOOD RANCH — Theater students at The Out-of-Door Academy will take the stage in the school’s new 250-seat black box theater for the first time as they present Neil Simon’s comedy, “Rumors,” Halloween weekend.
The play is full of dry wit, quirky antics and plenty of humorous conversations you may have had with your spouse.
“I’m looking forward to sort of christening this building with this show,” Director of Theater Arts Mark Lubas said. “(People) will enjoy themselves.”
Performances will be held at 7 p.m., Oct. 29-30, and at 12:30 p.m., and 5 p.m., Oct. 31 at ODA’s Lakewood Ranch campus, 5950 Deer Drive. Tickets cost $5 for adults and $2 for students, but entry is free if attendees come in costume for the Halloween-day shows.
The story unfolds as four affluent couples gather for an elegant dinner party to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of the deputy mayor of New York and his wife. The first couple to arrive, a pair of attorneys, finds no servants, uncooked food, a missing hostess and a bloodied, indisposed host. Trying save the deputy mayor’s reputation, they try to explain away the situation to the other guests as they arrive, hoping their host will wake from his unconscious state. But the cover-up just gets harder to maintain until no one is certain about anything anymore, even when the police arrive.
“Somehow, it all ends up OK,” Lubas said. “It’s definitely a farce in the strictest sense of the word.”
Junior Taylor McKenzie, 16, said she’s eager to take the stage, where she will transform into Mrs. Chris Gorman, who, with her husband, is the first to arrive at the party.
“It’s funny just to see all the characters,” McKenzie said. “They all have their quirks that come out when they are nervous. It’s a really funny play — a mix of drama, suspense and humor.”
Tim Olson, who plays the controlling and angry Ken Gorman, agreed the show would be sure to entertain.
“It’s a British play,” he said. “People love to laugh. If you pay close attention, you’ll get some inside jokes.”
Lubas said he picked this particular play because of its humor and its theatrics, which brought images to his mind even while he was reading the script.
“It’s fun to watch the development of the characters the kids have created,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of the way the kids have come together.”
Cast members said they were thrilled to be practicing in their new theater, rather than being crammed in classrooms for rehearsals and trying to finalize details during the final two dress rehearsals. Practicing on the stage will help them feel more comfortable come show time.
Senior Sarah Hitchcock, who plays the slightly vain flirt, Claire Gantz, said of the dozen or so plays in which she has performed, “Rumors” will be the most memorable.
“The fact that we’re in our own theater (alone) makes it special,” Hitchcock said.
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PERFORMANCES: 7 p.m., Oct. 29-30; and 12:30 p.m., and 5 p.m., Oct. 31
WHERE: The Out-of-Door Academy, 5950 Deer Drive, Lakewood Ranch
COST: $5 for adults; $2 for students; and free for individuals who dress in their Halloween costumes for either of the Oct. 31 shows.