|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.