Neil Simon’s zany show “Rumors” is set to premiere Feb. 2 at Oakland University’s Varner Hall and will run for two weekends.
The show takes place at a gathering to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the New York deputy mayor and his wife.
Soon after guests arrive, the mayor is discovered to have been fatally shot in bed, and his wife is nowhere to be found.
“From there, the hilarity ensues with cover-ups, deceptions and mistaken identities,” states the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance website.
“Rumors” is directed by Anthony Guest, associate professor of theatre at OU.
Guest said it is Simon’s only real farce, or comic dramatic work, and highlights the playwright’s ability to make the mundane insane.
“The character obsessions and distortions are a delicious mix of slapstick and wit,” Guest said.
He continued: “A run-of-the-mill, high-society party turns into a ‘run for your lives’ scenario,” he said. “We find it funny to see those higher on the social ladder fall from the comfort of their everyday lives.”
The cast and crew have harmonized in celebrating the story and bringing it to life, according to Guest.
“The actors are a stellar ensemble that have worked diligently to capture these hilarious characters found in this wonderfully funny script,” he said.
Grace Rosen, who plays the character of Cassie Cooper, said the six or so weeks of rehearsal have been a blast.
“People can expect to escape from real life for a little bit and laugh a lot,” she said. “This show is pure silliness and chaos, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
Guest would like these performances to be a much-needed break from life’s chaos.
“In today’s political climate, I hope that theatergoers can leave their cares and worries at the door and just simply enjoy this story and share the laughs,” he said. “Laughter is a universal action that we all share, regardless of our differences. It creates a catharsis which can keep us moving through life.”
There will be nine performances of “Rumors” between Feb. 2 and Feb. 12 in the Varner Studio Theatre.
The shows on Feb. 5 and Feb. 11 will be shadow-signed for the deaf by performers from Synergy on Stage. The company’s interpreters are also experienced thespians, according to its website. Dressed in costume alongside the other actors, they will be fully integrated into the show.
“By harmonizing the signing and speaking actors into one stage picture, the ASL performers are no longer seen as an appendage or distraction—but instead become subtext of the script brought to life,” say Synergy on Stage’s website.
Tickets cost $8 for students and $15 for general admission, and can be purchased on StarTickets.com. They are also available at the Varner Box Office.