“The simplest aspect of farce is you need a lot of doors, and you need people running in and out of them,” celebrated comedic playwright Neil Simon once said. “Generally speaking, in a farce, people are trying to withhold information from other people. Everybody in the play has to be in trouble.” That sums up about all you need to know about Simon’s 1988 play Rumors, which opens on Friday, January 10 at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck and runs through January 19th, in a new production by the Rhinebeck Theatre Society.
Rumors transpires at the upscale home of Charley Brock, deputy mayor of New York City, where a fancy dinner party celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary is scheduled to begin. As guests arrive, couple by couple, Charley lies unconscious in his upstairs bedroom with a bullet hole in his earlobe, and his wife Myra is nowhere to be found. As their host seems likely to survive, some of his friends are motivated to keep word of the disaster from becoming public knowledge. But one couple has been in an auto accident en route to the party, and the police are on their way. Disagreements about how to spin the story and to whom escalate as the players dash upstairs and down, darting in and out of plenty of doors in the process of creating diversions and coming up with ever-wilder explanations.
Silly, fun and hectic, this classic door-slammer farce is directed by Michael Juzwak. The cast includes Andrew Joffe as Lenny, Cindy Kubik as Claire, Elaine Young as Chris, John Remington as Ken, David Dancyger as Ernie, Tracy Carney as Cookie, Austin Lightning Carrothers as Glenn, Tamara Cacchione as Cassie, Joe Felece as Officer Welch and Petis Russo as Officer Pudney. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. The final performance on Sunday, January 19 will be “sensory-friendly,” with strobe lighting eliminated and sound amplification muted to accommodate audiences with epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders and other types of light and noise sensitivity.
Tickets cost $25 for all seats for all performances. To purchase, come to the Center box office at 661 Route 308 in Rhinebeck between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, call (845) 876-3080 or visit www.centerforperformingarts.org.
Rumors by Neil Simon, Friday-Sunday, Jan. 10-19, 8 p.m./3 p.m., $25, Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck, 661 Rt. 308, Rhinebeck, (845) 876-3080, www.centerforperformingarts.org