Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Our Current 2018-2019 Season:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lark Haunert Relates to Giving Up the Stage for Love in Drowsy

Lark Haunert is the center of attention as Janet van de Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright

Unless you’re from Canada, you’ve probably never heard of Janet van de Graaf, a Canadian improv artist and television actress.  But even if you have, you’d never guess that what started out as a spoof of old musicals at her engagement party in 1997 would evolve into a 2006 Broadway musical – The Drowsy Chaperone – about a 1920s musical called The Drowsy Chaperone, in which the lead character is called – wait for it – Janet van de Graaf!  Talk about art imitating life!

In the Farmington Players production of Drowsy (April 26 – May 18 at the Barn Theater), Lark Haunert plays her “dream role” of Janet, who she calls “funny and sweet, and while the struggle she faces – giving up the stage for love – is presented as comedy, it is definitely something I identify with.”  Although Lark is a model of physical fitness – she is an elite runner and teaches Zumba classes – she says “Janet is one of the more physically demanding roles that I've ever played.  Just standing still, her songs require a lot of breath support so putting them together with the dancing has been a challenge that I have really enjoyed pursuing!”  

Just like the show’s narrator, the Man in Chair, Lark can relate to “how visceral an experience listening to musicals can be.  The Man in Chair takes you through how much he loves The Drowsy Chaperone and how it relates to times and experiences in his life.  While the presentation of this is comedic, it is also endearing and heart warming.  Not only does the show itself pay homage to the genre, while not taking itself to seriously, it also embodies what I love most about musicals: how the music and story can make us feel, connect with other things that are going on in our daily lives, or allow us to escape them for just a little while and be swept into the music and story.”  

Lark knows musical theater lovers will enjoy Drowsy because the show “contains most archetypes in musical theater rolled into a funny story with cute, funny, endearing music, clever dialogue, and lots of dance numbers!  It really is a fun and entertaining show that I hope many, many people get to see!”

Lark grew up in Canton and moved back here a few years ago, and is raising her 10 year-old son, CJ.  She currently works at the University of Michigan.  Lark has really enjoyed her first experience at the Barn:  “Performing makes me feel alive, and it has truly been wonderful working with this cast and crew.  I am new to the Farmington Barn and everyone has welcomed me with open arms.  I am so grateful to have been cast and share the stage with this dedicated, talented and fun group!”

The Drowsy Chaperone has 12 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 26 – May 18.  The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Barbara Bruno IS the Drowsy Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone, a Play About the Play, The Drowsy Chaperone!



Barbara Bruno is the Chaperone, who is often drowsy from drink. 
The Chaperone is the favorite character of the Man in Chair (Edmond Guay)
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright 
Acting is an interesting balance of fantasy and reality.  Actors dress up and get to pretend to be someone else, often a character that possess qualities or powers that they can only dream of.  And yet, the best actors’ performance draws from their own experience, keeping it real while living someone else’s life.  Such is the juxtaposition facing Barbara Bruno, who plays the title role of the Chaperone in the Farmington Players production of The Drowsy Chaperone (April 26 – May 18 at the Barn Theater).

In the play, the Chaperone is often drowsy from too much drink.  Barb describes her character as “this wonderful grande dame of the theater with a touch of the bar room bawd about her.  It's great fun to play the sophisticate in one scene and then broad physical comedy in the next.  What's challenging about the role is that she isn't written with a lot of ‘jokes’ in her lines.  All of the comedy comes from what the actor chooses to do with it, what the actor brings to it.”

Drowsy is narrated by the Man in the Chair, who takes the audience on this ride.  The Chaperone is the Man’s favorite character.  As Barb says, “He loves her for how fabulous she is.  The challenge is playing that in ways that are grounded in who you are - trying to find the most appealing things about yourself and bringing them to the fore.  You simply can't copy what someone else has done with the role - it won't work.”  Barb tries to balance being grounded in reality with exploring the fantasy world created by the show: “As actors, we are fortunate to be able to play in a fantasy world, complete with costumes and orchestrations!  In truth, I spent most of my childhood re-enacting my favorite books and movies and embodying my alter ego, who was everything I was not:  brave, strong, powerful.  Fantasy is a way we can get in touch with those qualities we don't believe we possess.  The funny thing, though, is that the very ability to imagine those qualities means that they are within you.  The Chaperone is fun and confident, and I've noticed that these aspects have seeped into how I feel about myself.  It's good to remember in those times when I'm feeling down on myself that there are wonderful things about ourselves that, once we imagine them, we can bring out into the light and into our lives.”

Barbara knows that audiences will relate to Drowsy’s themes of escape: “It's all about escape - and we all need that.  Life can be unrelenting drudgery - the song As We Stumble Along summarizes the struggle that is just living life. There's always something else that needs to be done or some problem that needs to be solved. We all need an escape from it every once in a while.  There's nothing so comforting as spending some time in a fantasy world where you are everything you ever hoped you could be in a world that is exactly as you think it should be.”

While Barbara has enjoyed her other Barn performances including Stepmother, Into the Woods; Sara Jane Moore, 
Assassins; and Leta Encore, Ruthless, she considers the Drowsy cast to be “one of the most wonderful groups of people that I've ever seen assembled for a production.  Everyone gets along famously and we're having a truly wonderful time. It's such an incredibly talented group.  If folks have even a fraction of the fun we're having, they are going to have a marvelous time!”

The Drowsy Chaperone has 12 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 26 – May 18.  The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Madeleine Bien is Tres Bien as Drowsy Ensemble Member


 
Madeleine Bien (left, kneeling) is part of the talented ensemble
that plays multiple roles in The Drowsy Chaperone
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright
The Drowsy Chaperone is a show-within-a-show narrated by an unnamed man in a chair who takes the audience back in time has he recalls his favorite 1920s musical entitled – you guessed it – The Drowsy Chaperone.  The Farmington Players production of Drowsy runs April 26 – May 18 at the Barn Theater. 

Like many musicals, Drowsy involves larger than life lead characters and a small ensemble that sings, dances, and portrays multiple supporting roles.  In the Barn’s production, ensemble member Madeleine Bien plays such diverse characters as a maid, a monkey, and an aviatrix's assistant.  As Madeleine says, “Since the characters are already inherently different, it's pretty easy to jump from one to the other.”

In Drowsy, one of the lead characters Janet is struggling to decide whether she wants to leave the stage with all its fame and fortune for a husband she just met. She even loses her mind over it at one point in the show. Madeleine can relate to certain aspects of this struggle.  As she says, “It's extremely relatable for me as I've often considered the very same thing, whether I wanted to make a career out of my passion for the stage or give that up to focus on starting a family. Fortunately, it's not as black-and-white as that. Many of us in the cast have families of our own and are able to maintain the busy rehearsal schedule that the show requires while still keeping up with everything at home. It certainly speaks to the devotion of the cast and their ability to put on an amazing show despite having many other things to juggle in ‘real life’.”

Madeleine knows that audiences will love Drowsy because of “The TALENT. The comedy, the timing, the music, the people. There's something for everyone in this musical.”  She fell in love with this story because of the comedy and the music, saying, “I have a huge appreciation for musicals that can make me laugh (like, really laugh, not just chuckle), with music you can belt to, all topped off with a big crazy dance number!”

Madeleine hails from Southfield and studied theater at Wayne State University in Detroit before transferring to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo to major in French. She has organized an improv Meetup, a French Meetup, and an A-Capella quartet. She works at Volkswagen Group of America. Madeleine says, “The cast of this show always finds a way to make me laugh, on or off stage. They are a phenomenal bunch of people that I hope to have the pleasure of working with again in more shows to come. Cynthia Tupper, our director, is fantastic, and finds unique ways of pulling the show together to make it an unforgettable musical.”

The Drowsy Chaperone has 12 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 26 – May 18.  The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Putting on the Ditz: Julia Turner is Ditzy Flapper in Drowsy

Julia Turner (left) as Kitty and Lark Haunert (right) as Janet with Barbara Bruno (center) as the Drowsy Chaperone
PHOTO:  Jan Cartwright

The Drowsy Chaperone is a parody of American musical comedies in the 1920s, and any portrayal of the Roaring Twenties would not be complete without a flapper girl!  A “flapper” is defined as “a fashionable young woman intent on enjoying herself and flouting conventional standards of behavior.”  Julia Turner plays Kitty, a ditzy flapper girl in the Farmington Players production of Drowsy (April 26 – May 18 at the Barn Theater). 

Julia describes Kitty as “very sweet and very na├»ve.  She is not the brightest but has good intentions.   Kitty is a bit jealous of Janet and craves the spotlight because she truly believes she is a star.”  Julia says she “fell in love with Kitty” on her first reading of the script: “The character description for Kitty literally read ‘dumb blonde chorine’ and of course the running joke now is that I was perfectly type-cast for the role!”

Julia believes that “most people have their one show, book or movie that they are enamored with and see themselves as a part of the story.  As a little girl, I was captivated by The Little Mermaid.  As far as I was concerned, I was Ariel.”  Similarly, as Julia says, “The Man in the Chair has so many personal connections and memories that go along with The Drowsy Chaperone and takes the show to heart.” Drowsy is actually a show-within-a-show, jumping from the Man’s narration in the present back to the 1920’s. The Man’s passion for Drowsy draws the audience in and their experience is enhanced by his enthusiasm for it.

Julia describes The Drowsy Chaperone as “a period piece with fun, colorful costumes, big dance numbers, and even blindfolded roller skating! This show is fun and cheesy but has a lot of heart, and you can’t help but to love the characters. The blatant jokes and stereotypes in this show are over the top and hilarious.  Audiences will relate to Janet’s conundrum of whether to stay in the spotlight or settle down as a wife.  Everyone knows a Mrs. Tottendale, who you can’t help to love even though she may have a few screws loose.” 

Julia’s involvement in theater started in high school in Toledo (Surprise!) Ohio.  After moving here a few years ago with her husband from West Virginia to Royal Oak, she was inspired to return to the theater.  Julia made her Barn debut last year as Rapunzel in Into the Woods.  Julia is “so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this fun, fast and hysterical show.  The Farmington Players have given me the creative outlet I’ve been craving alongside an incredibly talented, supportive and HILARIOUS cast and crew.” When not performing, Julia enjoys travelling, watching and playing sports and spend most of the summer either boating on Lake Erie or off-roading on trails in Northern Michigan.

The Drowsy Chaperone has 12 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 26 – May 18.  The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Edmond Guay Embraces his Inner Geek as Drowsy’s Man

Edmond Guay as the Man in Chair adores his favorite musical -- The Drowsy Chaperone -- the play within the play
PHOTO:  Jan Cartwright

From boy with microphone to Man in Chair, Edmond Guay has always enjoyed entertaining people: “My parents tell me that I was born with a microphone and that I would sing and perform at any moment at any given time when I was a child, and I don't think I've ever lost that.” Edmond plays the unnamed “Man in Chair” who serves as narrator of The Drowsy Chaperone in the Farmington Players production (April 26 – May 18 at the Barn Theater). 

Edmond describes his character as follows: “He embodies so much of what makes the average geeky musical theater lover a musical theater lover. He simply enjoys the show, the music, the glamour, the escape. And I think his quirky and bizarre little character represents a little piece of all of us.”  Like his character, Edmond loves musical theater, and he believes the essence of The Drowsy Chaperone is “to enjoy the journey of escaping to another world while sitting in a theater. I have been that musical theater lover for my entire life. The final monologue from the Man in Chair really sums it all up when he says it's not a perfect show but it does what a musical is supposed to do, it takes you to another world, and leaves you with some tunes that you can remember when you're feeling a little blue.”

Edmond has loved Drowsy since he first saw it on Broadway in 2007: “The script is hysterical yet human and makes the concept of musical theater one that is very reachable for so many. It really is a musical theater lover’s dream to be a part of a show like this. The characters are incredibly entertaining, the music is fun, the choreography is inventive and well-executed. This entire show is an escapist theater dream. And it is built on the idea of what it takes to simply reach out and entertain an audience.”  

Edmond is loving his first experience at the Farmington Players: “The cast and staff have been incredibly welcoming, and have been very open to my energies and my ideas. The cast is spoiling each other because of our energy and our positiveness during rehearsals, and the staff has been very willing to let us take risks. So far it's been both a supportive and safe environment, while also challenging us to do our best.”

Edmond lives in Royal Oak with Susan, his wife of 30 years. He taught theater, speech, and English at Avondale High School and retired from teaching in 2017, after 35 years. But he recently returned to the classroom as an English teacher at a Catholic High School. His hobbies include “crossword puzzles, trivia games, roller coasters, singing in church, baseball, and spending lots of time playing with my grandson Quincy.”

The Drowsy Chaperone has 12 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from April 26 – May 18.  The show is proudly sponsored by Tru-Vista Wealth Advisors.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Keeping It Gay: Director Michael Smith Leads “Bees”

Cast and crew of As Bees in Honey Drown, with director Michael Smith (front row, second from left)


In your typical romantic comedy, the usual storyline is boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and then realizing the error of his ways, boy regains girl just in time for a happy, sappy ending.  By contrast, As Bees In Honey Drown (coming to the Farmington Players February 8-23) is not your typical rom-com. As director Michael Smith explains, “It’s more boy tastes fame, boy gets screwed by fame, and boy accepts that fame is not what he really wants! It’s topical and will seem very current given the thirst Americans have for social media and twitter hits and Instagram followers. As one character says, ‘the new becomes old before we find a newer new.’”

As the director of Bees, Michael definitely relates to the play’s themes and characters: “This play includes several well-written gay characters which — as a gay man and a writer — I find particularly gratifying. The main character — Evan Wyler — is both a writer and gay, and is in a particular place in his development as a gay man that every gay man will recognize: the ‘sleep around’ phase. It happens to all of us. You come out, you accept who you are (at some level or another) and you play the field. Every gay man does it and, if they don’t, they will not develop properly in my view. It’s a required release of sorts. Most move on from there into healthy relationships.” 

When we first meet Evan, he has shelved his romantic side in favor of his art — his writing. Michael explains the importance of this: “When Evan finally tastes fame — the buzz, the hype — it seduces him. Fame in this case is played by Alexa, the femme fatale. So the gay man is seduced by a woman, then loses his identity completely. When he finds it again, he is changed and ready to accept who he is.”  In his own life, Michael can relate to Evan’s decisions “to a point. I’ve been with my husband Frank for 28 years, and embarked on a writing career about seven years ago. I did not put my relationship on hold — rather, I embraced and cherished it. … I chose my romantic life over my artistic life and I did so with zero regrets.”

In directing Bees, Michael focuses on character development, saying, “this script is incredibly well-written: funny, engaging and with multi-layered characters. It’s often easy for an actor to play the character on the surface — what he does, his emotions — but it takes a real actor to play that AND the subtext beneath it. Every character — every person — has subtext to what they do. … Douglass Carter Beane, the playwright, infused many of these characters with deep subtext. Fortunately, we have the actors to play them!”

“The single most gratifying thing about doing this show is knowing that I have a huge pool of screamingly talented people to help me. That is the benefit of working with the Farmington Players. You have a vision, you put the vision out there, and everyone embraces it and makes it happen. It’s a lot of work, but the finished product will be tremendous — and totally impossible to accomplish without everyone who helped!”

Michael grew up in ultra-conservative Midland, Michigan, which he calls “a great place to go to public school but you want to get the heck out of there once you graduate. It’s no place to be gay. I studied graphic design at Western Michigan, so I learned to be collaborative on projects early. It’s a skill that makes directing easier and much more rewarding.”  Seven years ago, he quit his design career to focus on writing: “I discovered that I have an affinity for it. I love creating anything, and forming characters, situations — even whole worlds — from nothing has been the greatest challenge of my life.”

As Bees in Honey Drown has three remaining performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 21 – 23.  The show is proudly sponsored by Ameritax Plus.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Don’t Let Hosanna Phillips Con You: It’s Good to Be Bad


 
Hosanna Phillips as the conniving Alexa Vere de Vere
works her charms on writer Evan Wyler (Joshua Lisiecki)
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright
Alexa Vere de Vere is a flashy con artist.  She seduces her victims with the prospect of fame and fortune, or as she puts it, “the hum, the buzz, the hype, the flash, the fame”. One Variety reviewer called her “the absolutely fabulous whirlwind who blows through the delightful, pointed comedy As Bees in Honey Drown…. Alexa is a smart and very funny vivisection of the greed for fame, glamour and the good life (or at least a new life).”
In the Farmington Players production of Bees, Hosanna Phillips plays Alexa, who she describes as “a fantastic character because, whether you want to hate her, love her, or pity her by the end of the show, she will have made you think about something. As an artist, that is all you can really hope for in a character.” Hosanna loves playing an antagonist character and discovering the real person inside, saying, “Almost always, you will find that they started off as a victim of something (even if their victim status is only in their own mind). Any well-developed character is in some way a relatable human being, and I love to discover what it is about a character that drives them to be how they are.” For example, Alexa justifies conning artists because she can’t respect an art world that values its creators only once they’re dead.  
Hosanna loves Bee’s theme of “fame and fortune vs. substance and how our culture often places image over achievement. It makes you think about what really has value in life, and why it is that we place value on the things we do. Many times, what is mainstream is not what is meaningful, yet it is so easy to get sucked into [the hype]. This show has challenged me as an artist to examine the things that I invest my time and money on. … While fame is not intrinsically bad, chasing only the limelight will often leave you empty.”
The show also examines the question of “What Is Art”?  Hosanna asks, “What makes something art? Is art for the consumer, or the creator? Is art eternal, or fleeting? What is the value of art (monetarily, and otherwise)? As an artist myself, this theme is especially relevant. Many of Alexa’s negative points about the art world are sadly valid: the industry can chew up and spit out its creators. Artists and critics can be cut-throat, critical and back-stabbing. … On the other hand, art is expression, it can be beautiful and healing. When you have the true drive to create, there is nothing that compares... Artists and their work will continue to be valued subjectively, but the more we open our eyes, the more we will see.”
Hosanna grew up in West Michigan and recently moved here with her husband. She previously worked at Zeeland Christian school where she cultivated her passion for working with youth.  In addition to theater, her loves include her two toy dogs, and learning crafts such as the knitting loom.  As Bees in Honey Drown is Hosanna’s first Barn experience: “I have been grateful to meet more people in the area since I haven’t been living here long, and the whole cast and crew have been amazing to work with. I am grateful to be able to stretch and use my acting muscles after neglecting them for so long, and I have been blessed with a great group to do so with.” 
As Bees in Honey Drown has nine performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 8 – 23.  The show is proudly sponsored by Ameritax Plus.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

For Josh Lisiecki, It All Comes Back to Love


Joshua Lisiecki as Evan Wyler is tempted by femme fatale Alexa Vere de Vere (Hosanna Phillips)
PHOTO: Jan Cartwright

As Bees in Honey Drown is not your typical boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back love story.  And it’s not your typical teenager-to-adult coming-of-age story.  Come to think of it, Bees is not typical at all!  It’s a social satire that breaks the mold of traditional comedies, focusing on the price of fame and just how far people will go to achieve their own version of success.

In the Farmington Players production (February 8 – 23 at the Barn Theater), Joshua Lisiecki plays protagonist Eric Wollenstein, a writer whose pen name is Evan Wyler. Evan has just published his first big hit book, which took him nine years to write.  As Josh says, “Evan is very confident in his abilities and has a vision of what his life should look like. After meeting Alexa Vere de Vere, fame incarnate, he is swept into the life he always knew he deserved to have. Fame, money, and things on the surface seem to drive him. However, underneath this shell, everything seems to come back to love for Evan. As the film Before Sunrise sums it up: ‘Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?’"

Josh sees Bees as a “coming of age story for Evan: the transformation of an idealistic fresh-out-of-college ideal, to a realization of what truly matters in life. When we are just out of college we are hungry for success. You have a need to truly be the best, make the most money, and be financially successful.”  However, that drive to succeed sometimes runs smack into an existential crisis as young adults begin to wonder "why am I here and what is my purpose."   Josh answers the “purpose” question as follows:  “I think when it comes down to it, everything comes back to love. Whether it be finding love, sharing, or even just expressing love. There is something magical about love in a relationship, with family and friends, or in a religious environment. There is a purpose in love. It is love that keeps your smile going in good times and bad.”  Josh observes that Evan finally figures out what truly makes him happy: “It is the connection to others. That is a feeling we can all relate to and that is why I connect so strongly to him has a character.”

Josh knows that audiences will enjoy Bees “because it keeps you on your toes. This is a fast paced show, there are quite a few twists and turns throughout, and you get to see growth from multiple characters. I always feel that a good show gets the audience truly invested in its characters and As Bees in Honey Drown does just that.”

Josh grew up in Warren, Michigan and went to college near Boston at The College of the Holy Cross.  He works as a chemical engineer for Ford, and counts acting, board games, running, disc golf among his hobbies. He now lives in Ferndale with his love, Sarah Mertz, a fellow actor. This is Josh’s first experience at the Barn, and he finds his fellow cast members and crew to be “nothing short of amazing. People are so organized, care, and everyone really wants to put on a good show. This has been everything I hoped for and more. Director Mike Smith has been the director that I was waiting for. He came in with a vision and shared it with us day 1. He and A.D. Phil Hadley have been very flexible yet driven through this process. They come prepared and expect their actors to do the same, which is so hard to find. I cannot say how great they have made this experience for me as a first time Barn participant.” 

As Bees in Honey Drown has nine performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 8 – 23.  The show is proudly sponsored by Ameritax Plus.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.



Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Bonnie Fitch Ponders Price of Fame in Barn's "Bees"



Bonnie Fitch (far right) as one of her many crazy characters in "Bees"
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright
What is the price of fame?  In As Bees in Honey Drown, glamorous con artist Alexa Vere de Vere lures her many “marks” by appealing to their greed for fame, glamour and the good life.   But she does so with such flair and style, it’s hard to know whether to despise or admire her. 

In the Farmington Players production (February 8 – 23 at the Barn Theater), Bonnie Fitch plays several supporting roles, including two of Alexa’s victims, Denise and Illya:  Denise is Alexa’s new mark.  Bonnie sees Denise as “a bit naive and totally enthralled by Alexa’s charismatic tales of fame and fortune that she promises for Denise.”  Illya is one of Alexa’s former marks, who is “quite a successful dancer and has Alexa to thank for it even though she was ‘taken’ by Alexa.” Bonnie thinks Bees is about “the absurdity of Hollywood and the ‘price’, literally, people will pay for the chance at stardom.  The funny thing is, that in real life, we all strive in our careers or life for a chance to be recognized or accomplished.  And perhaps we all need a little ‘Alexa’ in our lives.” 

Bonnie describes her other characters: Waiter who is “very interested in the conversation at the table she is waiting on;” Backup Singer whose character is “fun to play in a wacky classic rock and roll costume;” Carla, a producer or agent type who “knows of Alexa’s reputation as a con artist, but knows her marks usually have successful careers after falling for Alexa’s shenanigans;” Newsstand Woman, who is “quite bothered by having to actually look for a magazine for Evan;” and Muse, who is “a variation of Alexa conning her marks.”

With so many roles to play, Bonnie relies on costumes, wigs, and different voices and mannerisms to develop her different characters.  As she says, “I have played multiple roles before in other shows, but this show is one of the more difficult I have played, especially Illya.  Her dialogue is not conversational and she isn’t really reacting to others on stage with her.  It is as if she is part of a ‘Greek Chorus’.”  Bonnie considers Bees “a sophisticated comedy that is a little different than your usual run of the mill comedy.  The audience is in for quite a treat if we do it right.  The con artist sets up a successful con upon a new mark like she has done many times before.  But this time the ‘conned’ writer tries to get back at her.  And the old adage ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ comes to light.”

Bonnie grew up in Southfield, and now works as a municipal city attorney for the City of Southfield.  As Bees in Honey Drown has nine performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 8 – 23.  The show is proudly sponsored by Ameritax Plus.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Multi-Faceted Kimme Suchyta Sparkles in Bees


You talkin' to me?  Kimme Suchyta (far left) plays multiple roles in this crazy cast of characters.
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright

In the fast-paced caper As Bees in Honey Drown, modern society’s thirst for fame is in the spotlight.  As a reviewer of the original 1997 Off-Broadway production wrote in Variety, Bees is a “smart and very funny vivisection of the greed for fame, glamour and the good life (or at least a new life)…. [The] ultramodern morality tale charts the rise and fall of first-time novelist Evan Wyler, the literary world’s latest up-and-comer,” who gets duped by the glamorous Alexa Vere de Vere.  Alexa promises to make him famous if he’ll write her life story, and whisks him away to observe her outrageous lifestyle. But when Evan realizes that he’s been had, he rounds up Alexa’s many victims to execute the ultimate revenge.

In the Farmington Players production (February 8 – 23 at the Barn Theater), Kimme Suchyta plays five distinct characters, including Amber, Secretary, Bethany Vance, Ginny, and a singer.  Kimme believes that “only 10% of communication is verbal, and the same can be said for acting.” She distinguishes her characters in a number of ways: “from the way you walk on stage, carry yourself, to speaking your lines. My favorite character is the spacey, air-headed, ditzy 'dancer,' Amber in the very first scene, which sets the tone for the entire show.”

Kimme describes her Secretary character as “the patriarchal southern-transplanted secretary and right hand woman of the high-powered executive Morris Kaden. The Secretary delivers the difficult news to Evan Wyler about his financial misfortune brought on by Alexa.”

Kimme calls Bethany Vance “a street-wise New Yorker; the most intense character I play in the show.  Bethany is alluded to be one Alexa's first marks and has a few interesting hobbies.”   Kimme also enjoys playing Ginny, “the innocent up and coming violinist,” and a back-up singer for “one of Alexa's (unknowing) marks, ready to party straight from London.”

Bees raises some interesting questions:  What is the price of distraction in modern society? How many scams could be prevented if people just paid more attention?  As Kimme observes, “plays are written to convey a story, enhance understanding and communicate themes to an audience. The theme I relate to is communication and its importance in life. Perhaps with more engaging listening and clear communication, individuals like Evan Wyler would be less common.”   Alexa takes advantage of her marks’ penchant for passive listening.  As Kimme says, “although Alexa is a gifted con-artist constantly spinning a new story to catch new prey in her web of lies, I believe a few of these discrepancies can be attributed to passively acknowledging and barely getting to know a person.”

Kimme says that being a part of this “unique production truly excited me.  Although not a traditional comedy, there is plenty to make you smile and even more to make you think about.”  Kimme is geologist who lives in downtown Detroit. She returns to the Barn stage after making her debut as a Laker Girl in Monty Python’s Spamalot.

As Bees in Honey Drown has nine performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 8 – 23.  The show is proudly sponsored by Ameritax Plus.  Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing boxoffice@farmingtonplayers.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.



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