|Getting the Cookie to Crumble: |
Officers Pudney (Kristi Schwartz) and Welch (Erik Carlson) interrogate Cookie Cusack (Mary Ann Tweedie)
It’s not easy playing it straight when everyone around you is a crack-up. Such is the challenge faced by two straight-laced cops in Rumors, a zany Neil Simon farce opening April 25th at the Farmington Players. Erik Carlson plays Officer Welch and Kristi Schwartz is Officer Pudney, and their “just the facts, ma’am” demeanor is in stark contrast to the lunacy that surrounds them.
When you are a smiley, perky, 3rd grade teacher like Kristi Schwartz, it’s not easy being mean. Kristi describes Officer Pudney as a “serious, gruff, law enforcement officer. There is not a lot of smiling going on in her character. She is suspicious of everyone and the people at this party are no exception. The biggest challenge I face is NOT smiling. This show is very funny and the characters are cracking me up already. It will be difficult to keep a straight face.” Similarly, Erik Carlson finds his role as Officer Welch to be “challenging. The rest of the cast really crack me up and it is hard to maintain character with cast mates who are so funny.”
Although Officers Welch and Pudney only appear in act two, as Erik says, “we really take charge when we are on stage, as well as have some fun at the expense of the other characters.” Welch has a couple of longer soliloquies when the police question the dinner guests, who are frantically trying to cover up a scandal involving their host. The evolving mystery will definitely keep audiences engaged in Rumors. As Kristi says, “there is a kind of a mystery that the characters are trying to solve. The show immediately starts with a problem. I really like the idea that things are not always as they seem. There are many interesting characters in this play. They all assume that they know what is going on, when really none of them have a clue!” Erik adds, “I think people will love the zany humor in Rumors. But they will have to keep on they toes in order to follow some of the twists and turns in the play. Be prepared for a wild ride.”
Erik last appeared onstage seven years ago as Old Man Carnes in Oklahoma, but he has been very active onstage and off at the Barn since becoming a member in the mid-1970s. Some of his other favorite Barn shows include: Charley’s Aunt, Don’t Dress for Dinner, Bedroom Farce, How the Other Half Loves, HTSIBWRT, The Nerd, Blithe Spirit and South Pacific. Kristi is a nine-year member, and shows her dedication to her Barn “family” by currently serving as Secretary on the Board of Directors. She was last seen onstage as Elle’s Mom in Legally Blonde and is looking forward to making her directorial debut this fall in Arsenic and Old Lace. While being a law enforcement officer is a new role for Kristi, perhaps it’s not as different as you might think. As she likes to joke, “Having taught for 15 years now, I kind of have to ‘police’ a room full of children every day!”
The Farmington Players' production of Rumors runs from April 25 through May 17 and is proudly sponsored by TruVista Wealth Advisors. Tickets can be purchased online at www.farmingtonplayers.org or by calling the box office at 248-553-2955.