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October 13 - 29

The Odd Couple

Produced by: Garden Theatre
Directed by: Katrina Ploof (Male Version) & Keith Smith (Female Version)
Garden Theatre
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description

Male & Female Versions, alternating performances

By Neil Simon

Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm, Sundays at 2pm

Industry Nights: Mondays, Oct 16 & 23 at 8pm

This classic comedy discovers what happens when persons of opposite personalities and lifestyles become unlikely roommates. Prolific American playwright Neil Simon brought slovenly Oscar Madison and fastidious Felix Ungar to the stage in 1965, and won the Tony for Best Author of a Play. The Odd Couple went on to become a film and a successful television series. In 1985, Simon revised the play for a female cast in a contemporary setting, in which Olive Madison and Florence Ungar become the mismatched roommates after a marital separation. From a male or female perspective, hilarity results when the worlds of these endearing characters collide! The show will be performed in rep with both male and female versions on opening weekend, and alternating weekends thereafter.

Tickets: $29 ($25 students/seniors)

Special discounted pricing for opening night, Industry Nights, and Wednesday and Thursday performances. Also, enjoy $5 off of each performance ticket if both male and female shows are purchased at the same time by utilizing discount code: ODD5OFF.

This show contains mature themes due to adult language, smoking, drinking and gambling; suitable for most audiences.

This project is funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program. This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida. This project is funded in part by United Arts of Central Florida, home of OrlandoAtPlay.com and UAArtsEd.com.

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Know Before You Go

This show contains mature themes due to adult language, smoking, drinking and gambling; suitable for most audiences.

 

Performance Schedule: Male & Female Versions

Male Cast:

Friday, October 13, 2017 at 8pm
Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 2pm
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 8pm
Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 8pm
Friday, October 20, 2017 at 8pm
Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 2pm
Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 8pm
Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 2pm
Monday, October 23, 2017 at 8pm

Female Cast:

Saturday, October 14, at 2pm
Saturday, October 14, at 8pm
Monday, October 16, 2017 at 8pm
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 8pm
Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 8pm
Friday, October 27, 2017 at 8pm
Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 2pm
Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 8pm
Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 2pm

 

About the Author

Neil Simon was born in 1927 in the Bronx, and grew up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. His parents had a tumultuous marriage, and young Simon escaped those difficult times by going to the movies. At one time he was employed in the mail room of the Warner Brothers Manhattan office. It was during this time that he and his older brother Danny created a sketch for a radio producer that resulted in a career as a comedy-writing team. The brothers soon became writers for comedy stars, and in the early 1950s joined the writing team of the Sid Caesar television series Your Show of Shows. The brothers parted ways in the mid-1950s, and Simon continued his comedy writing, expanding to The Phil Silvers Show and The Garry Moore Show.

He began writing for the stage, and his first real success was 1963’s Barefoot in the Park. He has received the Tony Award for The Odd Couple (1965), Biloxi Blues (1985) and Lost in Yonkers (1991). He also received a special Tony in 1975 for his contributions to theater. In 1983, he became the first living playwright to have a Broadway theater named in his honor. As of 2000, he was the only playwright to have four Broadway productions running simultaneously (1966).

meet the actors

We posed some questions to the stars of our male and female versions of The Odd Couple…

Neil Simon put a lot of himself into his characters. What do you draw upon in your real life, if anything, when you inhabit a character in a play?

Mark Ferrera (Oscar): “I try to connect emotionally with the character. So, that character’s reactions can be drawn from my own emotional reactions – if placed in that character’s situation. And sometimes I use substitution techniques when relating with another character. Oftentimes those techniques are just the door in, if you will, until the real life of the character takes over.”

Marty Stonerock (Olive): “I always draw upon my life experiences in developing my characters. In this case – both women are restarting their lives. I can relate. My husband recently passed away and I am working on that new chapter of my life. Girlfriends got me through the roughest patch of my life, just as Olive helps Florence.”

Stephen Lima (Felix): “I try to draw upon my own experiences to help inform the character. If my character is vulnerable, when in my life have I felt that way? As an actor, you don’t necessarily have to have had the same experiences, but we tap into the emotion and wither crank it up or dial it back.”

Peg O’Keef (Florence): “I come from the school of acting that says the truth of the character can only flow from the truth of the actor, so the performance is always anchored in some aspect of my real life. Luckily for me, Simon’s craft and humor embraces humanity’s shared hopes and pains…ambitions and foibles. The real stuff we all experience – just in a heightened form that makes it hilarious. So there’s plenty of real-life resonance in these characters to feed an actor.”

In the case of The Odd Couple, is your character a lot like you, or completely different from you, and how?

Mark Ferrera (Oscar): “Oscar Madison and I share a lot of the same proclivities. Perhaps not to the extreme lengths that Oscar goes to – but I can certainly relate to his impulses and indulgences. But, he just isn’t a lazy, irresponsible slob. He also is very good at what he does and he has a tremendous heart. There is a lot to work with there.”

Stephen Lima (Felix): “I have a lot in common with Felix. His need to get everything just right, his attention to detail, yet a sprinkling of vulnerability.”

Peg O’Keef (Florence): “As I dig deeper into the play, I find that Florence and I share a great many characteristics.  While I am not obsessively tidy nor stricken with psychosomatic illnesses like Florence (thank heavens), I totally identify with her compulsiveness and her tendency to catastrophize. I believe her tidiness flows from her emotional fragility. Since she cannot control the tsunami of emotions inside her, she puts her energy into controlling the world around her. She wants to “straighten up” the world that kicks her around…that treats her feelings with indifference. Golly, I sure know what that feels like. When you are flinging from one crisis to another, what feels better than doing the dishes or folding the laundry or cataloging your script library? I love her.”

Does that make it more challenging? More fun?

Mark Ferrera (Oscar): “The challenge with a role that you can highly relate to is that you might not work quite as hard to discover hidden gems in the text regarding character – because you think you already know. So, in that sense, it’s more challenging to do this kind of role compared to a role that is very unlike me. I plan on having a blast with this production. It is a masterpiece of a play and it is in very good hands with Katrina Ploof [Director, Male Version] at the helm.”

Stephen Lima (Felix): “Drawing upon your own experiences can make the process both complicated and fun. Retelling some of the darker elements can be draining since you have to relive that every night. However, when you get a great cast together, the energy of the back and forth can be quite addicting.”

Peg O’Keef (Florence): “My secret is out! Acting is great therapy. I enjoy working through my and others’ challenges by putting on the mask of a character. In the best cases, performing should be challenging and fun. Theatre characters are usually battling pretty extreme conditions, so the stage is really a laboratory for examining our humanity. It’s also a gym for building our compassion muscles.”

Which one are you most like? Oscar or Felix, Olive or Florence?

Mark Ferrera (Oscar): “I am clearly way more like Oscar than Felix. Yes.”

Marty Stonerock (Olive): “Olive is a bit more of a fighter than me and I like to think I’m not as sloppy as she is.”

Peg O’Keef (Florence): “I am deeply, deeply like Florence. I thought at first that I was more like Olive…but nope: Florence to the bone.”

What do you love most about your character?

Mark Ferrera (Oscar): “I love Oscar Madison’s big heart.”

Marty Stonerock (Olive): “She loves fiercely, fights fiercely; she is a strong girlfriend – very loyal. I love and admire that about her.”

Stephen Lima (Felix): “His unrelenting loyalty to his friends and family. He is always looking out for others and wants to help in any way he can. Annoyingly at times, but his heart is in the right place.”

Peg O’Keef (Florence): “Her big, untidy heart. Her faith in a better world.”