|Kristi Schwartz plays nagging yet supportive wife Rita Noonan. |
(Pictured here with fellow Torchbearer award winner Barry Cutler.)
Jeff Daniels’ 1993 comedy, The Vast Difference, is all about relationships: fathers and sons; husbands and wives; men and women. While protagonist George Noonan’s primary relationship is with his father Earl, George has a lot of key female figures in his life. George has five daughters, a female doctor, and most important, a loving – if sometimes nagging – wife, Rita. Kristi Schwartz plays Rita in the Farmington Players production of Vast, which opens this Friday September 23 at the Barn.
Kristi jokingly describes Rita as the “mother of five girls and one boy (George!). She is trying to be patient with George during this conflicting time, but she is also sick of being patient herself. She has been pregnant five times and it is time for him to go through a little pain!” Rita asks George to undergo a vasectomy, saying, "Honey, all I'm asking you to do is meet me halfway." Kristi’s biggest challenge in playing Rita is to “make sure that I am not just nagging the whole show. I want to be able to show her compassion, her laughter, her anger, her craziness, her jealousy, her need for affection, etc.”
Kristi knows audiences will enjoy this show because everyone will be able to relate to someone: “There are many eccentric characters in this play, so everyone will find some connection. It is also about vulnerabilities, which we all face on a daily basis.” Kristi uses her own vulnerability by connecting with the show’s theme of loss, saying, “I lost my own father to cancer when he was only 57 back in 2002. This devastating loss leaves an impression on you. Earl's final speech always strikes a chord in me. When he talks about how it is harder to picture his face as time goes on and when he says something about forgetting more than you remember, this speaks to me every single time. I find myself forgetting how my dad's own voice sounds and I feel guilty if I can't recreate an accurate picture in my mind. This play reminds me to cling on to those good memories because the rest, ‘It ain't all worth rememberin!’”
Kristi has always been drawn to Jeff Daniels' comedies, having served as co-producer and Wolf Moon Dance in the Barn's Escanaba show in 2007. While every show is special, Kristi thinks the Vast cast is “amazing ... they make me laugh and I get ‘shushed’ all the time because I can't control myself backstage! The directors and production team are all so supportive and make the stage a safe place to try new things and come out of our comfort zones. I appreciate all of their coaching and support!” Kristi recently received the Barn’s Torchbearer award for her longtime service, and she lists her “loves” as theater, RV-ing with her family, music, dance, and (of course) her husband, Keith, and three children (Colin, Allie, and Drew).
The Farmington Players production of The Vast Difference is proudly sponsored by Mall Malisow & Cooney. The 12 performances run from September 23 to October 15, 2016. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by contacting the Barn box office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-553-2955.