Charley and Myra Brock are celebrating their 10th anniversary and have invited all their good friends. Chris and Ken Gorman, a legal couple, are the first ones to arrive. They show up only to find that Myra is missing and Charley has “accidentally” shot himself in the ear. Charley is unconscious and so unable to tell them what happened. Charley is the deputy Mayor of New York City and, hoping to avoid a scandal, Ken and Chris go about covering up what they assume to be the truth of the situation. As the rest of the guests arrive — Claire and Len Ganz, Ernie and Cookie Cusack, and Cassie and Glenn Cooper — the story of Charley and Myra’s anniversary evening gone awry grows and develops. In the end all the guests are complicit in a cover-up that no one even really understands, but the fantastical events of the evening are hilarious and give a rich basis for great characters doing what Neil Simon does best – making the mundane…insane!
Cast & Staff
Cast & Staff
(in order of their appearance)
|Chris Gorman||Sr. Danielle Dwyer|
|Ken Gorman||Chris Kanaga|
|Claire Ganz||Ellen Ortolani|
|Lenny Ganz||Brad Lussier|
|Ernie Cusack||Br. Stephen Velie|
|Cookie Cusack||Rachel McKendree|
|Glenn Cooper||Luke Norman|
|Cassie Cooper||Kate Shannon|
|Officer Welch||Kyle Norman|
|Officer Pudney||Karen Catlin|
Sr Danielle Dwyer
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News & Reviews
News & Reviews
“Doubling as the director, Dwyer makes sure each character’s tics are fully developed to produce constant laughter as the show spirals to its surprising conclusion…” —Cape Cod Times
“A sheer delight to watch, and wonderfully entertaining in the adept hands of Elements’ ensemble cast…” —Barnstable Patriot
Simon's 'Rumors' aims barbs at country club set
By Johanna Crosby, Cape Cod Times
Nobody’s better at creating neurotic characters than Neil Simon.
And eight of them create combustible laughter in his riotous 1988 comedy, “Rumors.”
The plot-driven play was Simon’s first and very funny attempt at farce. The production, presented by Elements Theatre Company, is a sheer workout for your funny bone thanks to Sister Danielle Dwyer’s deft direction and a fine, well-balanced ensemble cast who serve up comical depictions of their quirky characters. The laughs are steady with hilarious sight gags, physical comedy, mistaken identities and confusion and Simon’s trademark one-liners.
Simon uses “Rumors” to poke fun at the status-conscious, country club set.
Four well-heeled couples face a dilemma when they show up for Charlie and Myra’s 10th anniversary party only to find the host holed up in his bedroom with a superficial gunshot wound to his earlobe and his wife and the help missing. They go to any length to protect their reputations and fabricate preposterous stories that lead to zany twists and turns. It’s great fun to watch these self-absorbed folks make utter fools of themselves.
Ken and Chris are the first couple to arrive and hear the gunshots. As Charlie’s lawyer, Ken is concerned about protecting his client, the deputy mayor of New York, from a scandal. Ken refuses to call the police and forces Chris to lie to the other couple’s and pretend nothing’s wrong. Over the course of two acts the other couples engage in the cover-up which fuels the comedy. Lies pile upon lies leading to total confusion and hilarity.
Chris Kanaga is unflappable as the logical lawyer Ken who becomes unglued by the goings-on, especially when he accidentally loses his hearing. Dwyer is very funny as his tense, frantic wife Chris. Her exasperated phone conversations with Charlie’s doctor are comical.
Brad Lussier plays the hyper Lenny who visibly suffers from whiplash from a car accident. He’s funniest when he poses as Charlie and tells the police a convoluted story. Ellen Ortolani is deliciously funny as Claire, his catty, gossipy wife.
The tension is between the openly hostile couple, Glenn and Carrie, played by Luke Norman and Kate Shannon, is palpable.
Brother Stephen Velie and Rachel McKendree are amusing as the obnoxiously affectionate couple Ernie and Cookie. A fine physical comedian, the ever-smiling McKendree engages in various contortions to deal with her character’s back spasms.
The first act ends in a very funny scene in which each character is engaged in his and her own hang-up. The highlight of the second act features the couples dancing frenetically to “La Bamba.”
As the two no-nonsense cops, Kyle Norman and N. Karen Catlin are perfect straight men to the loony bunch.
Rumors has it: there's a great play in Orleans
Written by John Watters, Barnstable Patriot
It’s a funny thing about rumors. They take on a life of their own, often becoming so embellished from the original seed of truth that they spring into a full grown tree that looks nothing like the original.
Such is the case in Neil Simon’s hysterical play, Rumors, now being performed by the extremely talented Elements Theatre Company in Orleans. The play was America’s most prolific playwright’s first attempt at a farce. According to the production notes he started by placing four very well-heeled couples in an absurd situation to see how they would act. The result of his experiment is uproarious in nature, a sheer delight to watch, and wonderfully entertaining in the adept hands of Elements’ ensemble cast.
Set at an elegant dinner party planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Charlie and Myra Brock, the twisting tale starts to unfold when guests begin arriving in tuxedos and evening gowns, only to find Charlie, the deputy mayor of New York City, lying in his bed with a gunshot wound to his earlobe, and his wife and domestic help nowhere to be found. As each pair of guests arrive they each evaluate the situation and in an attempt to cover up the truth to protect their friends and themselves, they make up outlandish excuses to disguise the truth.
Every facet of Elements’ production sparkles. The tight ensemble cast feature four couples and a pair of policemen who each carry his or her share of the workload to make it a very even show.
Chris Kanaga and Sister Danielle Dwyer, as Chris and Ken Gorman, are the first pair to enter the house and find things not quite as they should be. In the effort to protect their friends from embarrassment they start the ball rolling into an evening of subterfuge. Dwyer wears two hats in this production beside playing the highly neurotic Chris, who would kill for a cigarette to calm her nerves, she also has directed this masterpiece. Kanaga, a familiar face to Elements theatergoers also gives a impeccable performance, adding much comedy to the piece when he temporarily loses his hearing.
The next pair are Ellen Ortolani and Brad Lussier as Claire and Lenny Ganz, who en route to the party end up in a car accident in which Lenny receives a whiplash injury. Eager to know why something doesn’t seem quite right they quickly catch on to the skewed situation and start adding their own slant on the storyline. Both actors carry off their characters with aplomb.
Soon the next guests to arrive are Brother Stephen Velie and Rachel McKendree as the overly affectionate pair Ernie and Cookie Cusack. Ernie is a psychiatrist and Cookie has, what else, her own television cooking show. To make things appear as normal as possible they jump into the kitchen to prepare dinner before the last couple arrives. To add to the hilariousness, Cookie has severe back spasms that make her require a walker to be able to stand upright. Her contortions make for many belly laughs from the audience.
The last couple to show up for the soiree are Luke Norman and Kate Shannon as the cold, embattled pair Glenn and Cassie Cooper. Glenn is running for the state Senate, but that doesn’t help endear him to his wife, who believes he is also running around on her.
Kyle Norman and Karen Catlin play a pair of cops, Officer Welsh and Officer Pudney, who show up to try to figure out what in the heck has been going at this house on this crazy evening.
Set designer Soren Spatzeck-Olson should receive special props for creating an elegant apartment set that would rival any theater’s work at any level. The spacious living room with balcony and doors aplenty to make the fast-paced comings and goings easy is a thing of beauty.
Elements Theater continues to produce top-notch, high-quality theater at its beautiful Paraclete House home, and should draw crowds from all over the Cape to see their excellent work.
From the Director
From the Director
Rumors has been a delight for Elements Theatre Company. Since our very first read-through, the main challenge has remained to keep a straight face and not fall into gales of laughter at Neil Simon’s ingenious, rapid-fire humor.
Neil Simon seems to be a master at transforming the mundane into moments of great hilarity: a telephone call becomes a relay race of confusing and distorted messages, dinner preparations turn into a series of crisis and injury, and finding the simple truth grows into the greatest hurdle of all.
Rumors was written later on in Simon’s career, and we couldn’t help but wonder how many of these recognizable (though not necessarily lovable) characters had actually danced across the stage of Simon’s own life.
Four well-to-do couples are invited to the 10th anniversary celebration of Charlie and Myra Brock. They arrive at intervals to the party, only to find a rapidly developing set of unexpected, unlikely, and disturbing circumstances. Suddenly, eight successful professionals become eight scrambling lunatics running for cover, and turning on each other at a moment’s notice.
This is true farce, and every moment is fraught with peril of some sort. But Simon spins those situations that would be not-so-funny in real life, into side-splitting interchanges that leave us gasping for breath. Suddenly we can picture ourselves in very similar scenarios, and hope that we have the grace to laugh at ourselves then just as we’re laughing now.
A true ensemble piece, Rumors has kept us all on our toes from “day one” – we trust you’ll enjoy it as much as we have.
Sr. Danielle Dwyer