Quirk’s Players of G. Ray Bodley High School will present Neil Simon’s classic comedy The Odd Couple Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22 in the G. Ray Bodley High School Auditorium. Curtain time is set for 7:30 p.m. both evenings, and tickets will be available at the door. The production kicks off Quirk’s Players’ 2011-2012 season.
In 1965, Neil Simon’s new play The Odd Couple opened on Broadway and garnered instant success. It’s a story about a neurotic neat-freak, Felix Ungar, whose separation from his wife leads him to move in with his best friend, the perpetually sloppy and unkempt Oscar Madison. The play won several TONY Awards including that for Best Actor and Best Play. The play which featured Walter Matthau as Oscar and Art Carney as Felix was an audience favorite.
It was later followed by a successful movie version in 1968 where Matthau reprised his role as Oscar Madison, but played opposite Jack Lemmon as Felix. Success continued for Simon in the 1970s when The Odd Couple played the small screen. ABC turned Simon’s work into a popular television series that starred Jack Klugman and Tony Randall and ran from 1970-1975. Over the years Simon has revised The Odd Couple, including a female version of the story in 1985. Even though the characters debuted almost 50 years ago, audiences are as excited to see them today as ever.
“Though Simon’s work is exceptionally funny, it makes the audience ponder a larger question – can two people who are so different from one another live together without driving each other crazy?,” stated Tom Briggs, theatre director at G. Ray Bodley High School and faculty advisor to Quirk’s Players. “People love these characters because they force us to examine traits and mannerisms which we see every day. Some may think that Felix and Oscar are fictitious individuals only from the printed page – but that is not true; they are very real. There are Felixes and Oscars all over the world, from all backgrounds, ethnic groups and socio-economic classes.”
Briggs explained that people can relate to The Odd Couple because they know a Felix or an Oscar, “whether is was your college roommate, the guy in the next cubicle at work, your boss, the lady who lives down the hall or maybe a friend from childhood.”
Bodley’s production of The Odd Couple stars Alex Bawarski as Oscar Madison and Nathan Deavers as Felix Ungar. Felix and Oscar’s poker playing buddies include Joe Medico as the sarcastic and biting Speed; Zachary Mizener as the negative Roy; Nate Hawthorne as Murray the cop and Neil Devendorf as the nervous yet hungry Vinnie. Playing the beautiful Pigeon Sisters from upstairs are Amanda Tetro and Alyssa Scruton. Comprising the tech crew for The Odd Couple are: Gage Mayer, Amanda Trombly, Christina Teetsel, Laura Perwitz and Ryann Crofoot.
Briggs explained that students have been hard at work before summer vacation on this year’s fall production. “We cast the show in June and held our first rehearsals before summer vacation. Over the summer students have been developing their characters, learning their dialogue and preparing for our production.”
Briggs stated that once the school year began Briggs stated that students have been rehearsing several days each week to prepare for opening night. “Opening night is approaching quickly.”
Quirk’s Players is the student theatre troupe at G. Ray Bodley High School. Named in memory of Mr. William Quirk, a long-time English teacher and theatre director at both Fulton High School and G. Ray Bodley High School, the group presents two main productions a year and participates in at least one high school theatre festival.
Most recently, Quirk’s Players presented the fast-paced comedy Unnecessary Farce last fall as well as the Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast this spring and the hilarious one act play This Is A Test at the 52 Annual High School Drama Festival at SUNY Oswego in April.
Photo Caption: Featured in the cast and crew of Quirk’s Players’ upcoming production of The Odd Couple are – Seated (from left): Christina Teetsel, Gage Mayer, Alex Bawarski, Nate Deavers, Amanda Tetro, and Alyssa Scruton; Standing: Joe Medico, Neil Devendorf, Nathan Hawthorne, Zach Mizener, Ryann Crofoot, Amanda Trombly and Laura Perwitz. The production will be presented Oct. 21 and 22 in the Bodley High School Auditorium and is under the direction of Fulton Teachers Tom Briggs and Rob Lescarbeau.