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SCHOOLHOUSE ARTS PRESENTS CLASSIC COMEDY “PLAZA SUITE”

Posted in Hot Off The Press with tags , , , , , on April 21, 2017 by Ringer

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April 2017

Ever check into a hotel and wonder who stayed there last night?  Last month?  Last year?  Was it a single person?  Married couple?  Family? And just what occurred in that very same space you’re now occupying?

Playwright Neil Simon provides some answers in his classic comedy PLAZA SUITE, now playing at Schoolhouse Arts in StandishWith Simon’s unique trademark style of situation humor, PLAZA SUITE offers an inside look at three parties who at one time or another stayed at NYC’s Plaza Hotel for very different reasons.  It’s a snapshot in time of quirky characters with idiosyncratic personalities on zany, fragmented journeys that all intersect in Suite 719.

Act One.  Sam and Karen Nash are celebrating their “23rd or 24th” anniversary “today or tomorrow.”  Despite Karen’s desire to rekindle the romance by revisiting their honeymoon suite, Sam’s desire is focused on work, work, work.  Just when tensions are boiling, Jean McCormack, Nash’s young, skinny and attractive secretary, drops by with more work that compels Sam back to the office.   Karen’s joking reference to an affair between Sam and Jean turns out to be true.

Terri Plummer’s Karen and Chris Roberts’ Sam are wonderful to watch as they navigate all the emotional landmines through incessant roller-coaster rides of nice-talk and heated arguments.  The strengths and weaknesses of their characters are manipulated perfectly by Plummer and Roberts, never letting up on the push-and-pull, up-and-down, ying-yang, internal conflicts.  Crickett Cote’s brief portrayal of Jean McCormack is subtly well-played.

Act Two.  Hollywood Producer (and legendary ladies man) Jesse Kiplinger is in town and hopes to hook up with his old high school flame Muriel Tate after 17 years.  Muriel, now married with children, is guilt-ridden but reluctantly accepts Jesse’s invitation to visit and promises she will not stay long.  After a drink or two or 10, Jesse reveals his inner feelings about his work, fame, past relationships and his love for Muriel, who admits to her unhappy marriage and by now has poured out her heart and soul on her way to passing out in bed.

Gerald Davis, though perhaps a tad young for the role, is ultimately convincing as Jesse Kiplinger.  He is strong as the self-absorbed purveyor of fame and fortune, knows how to display the precise amount of inner anger, and gently reveals his character’s vulnerability.  Mia Perron is both fun and funny as Muriel Tate, aptly handling a wide range of emotion as she successfully transforms Muriel from a shy, demure, proper young lady into a wilder and willing partner.  Together, the facial expressions and comedic timing are entertaining.

Act Three.  Sixty-eight guests and a bridegroom are anxiously waiting downstairs for Roy and Norma Hubley to escort Mimsey, their daughter and bride-to-be.  Only problem is Mimsey has locked herself in the bathroom.  Hilarity ensues as the frantic parents, desperate and under pressure with each passing moment, try everything under the sun to get their daughter out.  But out of blame, excuses and time, Mom and Dad, bruised and defeated, torn and tattered, have no choice but to tell the groom, Borden Eisler, the wedding is off.  Borden  comes to the room and immediately and effortlessly gets Mimsey to come out.  The wedding is back on.

This is the mad-cap pièce de résistance of all three acts, with more outward slapstick and farce, and Teresa Dyer (Norma) and Tom Ferrent (Roy) capably and comfortably achieving their creative tasks.  They work well with each other, and against each other, and instinctively flow from moments of comic hysteria to moments of subtle silence.  Rachel Scala plays Mimsey.

Honorable mention is due for Jon Bolduc’s dual-role as the waiter in Act One and Borden Eisler in Act Three.

Overall, PLAZA SUITE is comfort food for theater goers.  It’s nothing fancy, high-tech, psycho-analytical, political or dramatically intense.  It’s just a fun time with a good comedy courtesy of Neil Simon, Director Jerry Walker, and a nice bunch of Maine talent.

PLAZA SUITE runs April 21-May 7, Friday & Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm.  Schoolhouse Arts Center is located at 16 Richville Rd., Standish.  FMI: 207/642-3743 or www.schoolhousearts.org.

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–Louis Philippe

FOUR H.S. BANDS ‘MAKIN’ WAVES’ IN MAINE

Posted in Archive Press Releases with tags , , on July 6, 2004 by Ringer

July 6, 2004

School may be out for the summer but there’s no rest for four high school rock bands that have signed on with Reindeer Records and are busy recording several songs that will be showcased on a Back-To-School compilation CD.

The CD is entitled “Makin’ Waves” and will not only feature some excellent worthy young original talent from Maine but will also help Reindeer launch another “Rockers-for-Scholars” season, according to Reindeer President Louis Philippe.

The four bands, all participants in the recent Rock-Off 20, include: GSB (Grand Slam Breakfast) from Erskine Academy, ORBITS from Maranacook Community HS, PRIMER from Fort Fairfield HS and SPECTER from Leavitt Area HS. All four bands will still be in high school next year, a criteria for the CD project.

The Rockers-for-Scholars program was developed to raise money from all-ages shows to provide funding for a scholarship. “We produce the shows during the school year, the bands make some money, and they’re happy to donate a cut to helping out one of their peers with their college education,” said Philippe.

Reindeer is producing two all-ages shows to celebrate the CD and kick off another RFS season. Both shows will be held at McAuley Performing Arts Center starting at 2 PM. Admission is $10 at the door, $8 with a mini-flyer available from any participating band or Reindeer, 857-9002 or email us.

THE MAKIN’ WAVES SHOW #1 is on Sunday, August 8th, featuring PRIMER, ORBITS, ALTERIA (celebrating their recent signing to Reindeer for a full-length CD scheduled for an October release), and RANSOM, a popular Portland favorite and Rock-Off veteran band.

THE MAKIN’ WAVES SHOW #2 is on Sunday, August 22nd, featuring The Band Formerly Known As THE SLURPEES, SAMMIE FRANCIS (RO20 Winner), GSB (Grand Slam Breakfast) and FREE ASSOCIATION, RO19 Winners.

This year’s Rockers-for-Scholars program paved the way for a $1,000 scholarship to Ben Lyons, a recent graduate of Thornton Academy whose band CARMINE placed in the Rock-Off 20 finals. Ben, who will be attending the University of Massachusetts in Lowell in the Fall, will receive the award at The Makin’ Waves Show #1 on Sunday, August 8th.
A similar “Makin’ Waves” project with two Florida bands is also being planned to help raise money for a scholarship award. THE PERKS and SURREAL, both from Sarasota, took part in FLARO8: Reindeer’s 8th Annual Florida Rock-Off.