2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Friday, April 25, 2014

The More Erin Osgood Changes, the More Things Get Insane

Erin Osgood and Jim Moll (3rd and 4th from R) exchange knowing glances as attorney couple Chris and Ken Gorman
When we first meet Chris Gorman at the beginning of Rumors, she is frantically seeking her husband’s guidance to cope with a crisis. But perhaps more than any other character, Chris transforms during the course of the show.  Erin Osgood of Brighton describes her character as “the younger second wife to Ken. Both Chris and Ken are lawyers, although Chris is a contract lawyer. She married Ken for his money and power (he's a litigator).”   At first, Chris is pretty passive and reactive, literally parroting the words that her husband tells her to say into the phone.  But over the course of the show, she emerges as her own person.  

Erin describes Chris’ transformation as follows: “Chris is really fun to play. Once she is introduced at the beginning of the play, her character goes through many changes: trying to deal with what's happening, trying to cover it up, even becoming quite tipsy. By the end of the show, she is more blunt and less worried about appearances.”  Erin’s ability to transform a character speaks to her strength as an actor.  In her most recent role at the Barn, she played Lexie Richards in The Dixie Swim Club.  Like Chris, there was a depth of character to Lexie that surpassed your superficial first impression. 

Erin really wanted to be in Rumors “because of Neil Simon! I just love his work.  I also had the pleasure of working on another one of his works, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, while I lived in England. It's so wonderful to be on stage with a great ensemble. It has been such fun! We laugh and snort at each other throughout rehearsals.” Erin knows that audiences will be laughing out loud at this hilarious farce, saying, “Audiences will love this show because it's a non-stop party. Nothing is funnier than watching people stumble through chaos and the craziness that unfolds.”

Erin is no stranger to the Barn, first appearing over a decade ago as Lizzie Curry in The Rainmaker, which was also directed by Cynthia Tupper. Some of Erin’s other favorite roles include the title role in Hedda Gabler, Claire in Boston Marriage, Elaine Navazio in Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and Mrs. Cheveley in An Ideal Husband.  Erin admits to being a “closet writer” and is working on a play right now. She is a dedicated volunteer for the Make a Wish Foundation, saying, “It is truly amazing to be apart of making a child's wish come true after that child is dealing with things no one should have to deal with.”

The Farmington Players' production of Rumors opens tonight (April 25) and runs through May 17.  The show 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.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Just the Facts, Ma’am: Officers Carlson and Schwartz Abide No Rumors

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.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jim Moll Is Out of Control, and That’s a Good Thing

Jim Moll and Erin Osgood play a mercurial married attorney couple, Ken and Chris Gorman
Jim Moll is a take-charge kind of guy.  As a career educator and building principal (recently retired), he’s usually in control, or at least trying to assert his authority in stressful situations.   So Jim feels right at home playing Ken Gorman in the Farmington Players’ production of Rumors.  Jim describes his character Ken as “an attorney who has a fairly significant need to control the situation.  Unfortunately for him, he is rarely successful with this during the course of the show.  He is a guy who is fast paced and sometimes blustery.”  Jim admits that like Ken, the “need for control is one that I struggle with personally.  As principal, I knew first hand the frustrations of seeing a situation slip away from you and trying hard to get things back under control. Luckily for me, my real life experiences haven't spiraled out of control nearly as much as Ken's seem to during the show!”

Rumors is a zany Neil Simon farce where the characters try to cover up a scandal involving their dinner host, who has apparently shot himself on his 20th wedding anniversary. (It’s only a flesh wound.)  Jim and his stage wife Erin Osgood play one of five couples, which presents an interesting twist for Jim: “One challenge in this show is to develop a believable relationship between the characters -- especially between the spouses.  There has to be a depth of caring and a sense of a real partnership with the spouses which can be difficult to develop given the pace and the humor.”

Jim really wanted to be in Rumors because of his “fondness for Neil Simon's work. His writing style is both conversational and comic.  And, being a farce, this show relies both on the wonderful comedy of the script and sight gags and physical comedy.  The fast pace and frenetic style of the farce enhances his dialog and makes the humor even bigger.  What fun!”  Jim loves being reunited with one of his favorite directors, Cynthia Tupper, who “gives just the right amount of direction -- allowing us to develop character and have fun while staying true to her vision for the total experience of the show for the audience. “ 

Jim is a long-time Barn member whose more memorable roles include Roger DeBris in The Producers, Dad in Leaving Iowa, and Clifton Feddington in the 1940’s Radio Hour.   He’s also appeared in the movies, including as an Emerald City citizen in Oz the Great and Powerful.  Jim and his wife Denise have lived in Farmington Hills for the past 37 years.

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.