2022-23 season

2022-23 season

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When Cookie Crumbles, Audiences Applaud!

Nick Szczerba  and Mary Ann Tweedie as the cutesy couple, Ernie and Cookie Cusack
Rumors is filled with rich characters:  “Rich” as in wealthy, and also as in complex, layered, and multi-faceted.  Of the four main couples, Ernie Cusack (Nick Szczerba of Brownstown) and Cookie Cusack (Mary Ann Tweedie of Novi) have the most loving relationship, and their pet names for each other are sweet bordering on saccharine.  Mary Ann describes her character Cookie as “a successful cooking show host and the only one at this dinner party that actually likes her husband.  I like playing her because she runs through many different emotions – from sweet, to snarky, to clueless.”  Cookie has a bad back, which sporadically spasms, sending her into gyrations of pain. As Mary Ann says, her “biggest challenge in this role is the physical humor that I have do to.  This may be my last show falling on the floor and crawling around! It's not as easy as it used to be.”  

Cookie is well matched with Ernie, who is a successful psychologist.  Nick thinks “some may see Ernie as brow-beaten, but I see him as a man who is truly in love with his wife, Cookie. I like playing Ernie, as he has some funny moments and can get quite frantic at times. I especially like the Second Act, where Ernie can just sit back and enjoy all the humor, action, and fun.”  This is actually Nick’s third time in Rumors, having played Lenny and directed the show previously. He wanted to be in it again “to re-unite with some long-time theater friends and to prove to the Tuppers [director Cynthia and set designer Brian] that I can walk through a door without taking it off its hinges.”

Mary Ann is not surprised that audiences have responded so well to this show, saying, “the dialog is hilarious and there are so many funny moments, what's not to like?  Farce is funny if it is fast and loud.  The fast pace really keeps you on your toes as an actor, and you can't lose your concentration for a minute. This show puts these wealthy people into ridiculous situations and shows how silly they can be trying to avoid the truth.”  Nick jokes that “people will enjoy Rumors for it's message: It has none.  You see, I believe that, above all, theater should entertain – and it certainly does with this cast.  Farce is funny when the actors truly commit to their parts.  I believe Mary Ann was the first to be committed.”

The Farmington Players' production of Rumors has three more performances: May 15, 16, and 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, May 8, 2014

Despite the Rumors, Ross Grossman Is Politically Correct

Julia Spina-Kilar and Ross Grossman do battle as Cassie and Glenn Cooper
Politicians are always at the top of the list of the most hated, least trusted professions.  So playing a politician and making him likeable is a challenge for any actor.  In Rumors, Ross Grossman of Farmington Hills plays Glenn Cooper, a local politician who is running for New York State Senator.  His wife Cassie Cooper, played by Julia Spina-Kilar, is unimpressed by his politician aspirations (Albany is not exactly Washington, DC), and the two feud constantly throughout the show.

Ross was attracted to this role mainly because of the husband-wife dynamic, saying, “it's not about what Glenn does for a living that I relate to, but the passion he has with his wife, whether the good kind (romance) or the misbehaving kind they show when they bicker.  Despite all the other shenanigans, the passion (both good and bad) is so real and earnest and what people have in real life.  With your husband or wife, you know exactly where the buttons are, even if you choose not to push them.  Glenn and Cassie push those buttons, AND with the passion of a marital spat – out  in public.”  The fact that Julia and Ross are good friends adds to the realism of their stage marriage, and Ross hopes “that genuine affection will play into the roles as a married couple.  Because as much as they bicker, there is a strong attraction in their passion for life and each other.”

Offstage, Ross works as a school psychologist, so it’s natural that he analyzes his character Glenn: “I suspect Glenn represents those among us who want to believe what is in front of them, mixed with his adept ease of trying to slide out of danger.  Glenn is not the brightest character of this lot, and he makes a lot of sincere but silly assumptions -- I'd like to think I'm a lot cleverer than him. The challenge is to play those assumptions as genuinely as possible, without looking like the village idiot, compared to his quick and witty friends.”  

Ross is especially attracted to the farce genre because “what makes farce funny is the characters taking themselves seriously, but in outrageous situations. Not just something that COULD happen, but more likely something that would never happen, due to the insane number of unlikely situations, plot twists, and incomprehensible choices that the characters make.  For me, it is a challenge for a character to take themselves as serious as in a drama, but in these absurd, outlandish situations, where their dedication to making bad decisions and interesting choices spin out of control, and make us all feel better about our own lives.” 

The Farmington Players' production of Rumors runs through May 17th 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.