Our Current 2019-2020 Season:

Our Current 2019-2020 Season:

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Unnecessary Farce: A Police Caper with Heart, Brawn, and Brains

Officer Eric Sheridan (Kyle Phillips) puts the moves on accountant Karen Brown (Madeleine Bien)
while his partner Billie Dwyer (Ansley Barnard) is "tied up." 
PHOTO:  Paul Manoian

With bumbling cops, budding workplace romances, and crazy criminals, Unnecessary Farce might remind you of the old Police Academy movie.  But unlike some other slapstick police capers like Police Squad! and The Naked Gun films, Unnecessary Farce offers a more sophisticated brand of humor.  Its heroes are strong yet flawed, and even the bad guys have their good sides. The Farmington Players present this comedic take on a botched sting operation at the Barn Theater on February 7 – 22.

Kyle Phillips plays Officer Eric Sheridan, who he describes as “a straight-laced cop who is extremely excited for his big break at a real sting operation. What I love about playing Eric is his focus at getting things back on track when everything has turned to chaos.”  Eric develops a romantic interest in accountant Karen Brown (Madeleine Bien), the mole in this top-secret operation.  But pursuing her romantically proves to be “quite the sticky situation” when Eric must balance his “professional partnership with long-time friend Billie Dwyer (Ansley Barnard), while trying to keep a professional demeanor” with Karen, his love interest.

For her part, Ansley sees Billie as “searching for her moment of glory, where she can feel like she finally ‘made it’ as a cop.  I can relate to that effort in my career and the struggles I've faced to reach my goals.”  Ansley knows that audiences will enjoy this show for the “fast pace and word play in this script.  I want the audience to enjoy every joke along the way, but getting the timing of each movement and cue is a big undertaking.  Billie is a very physical role and a lot of the humor she brings to the show requires a ton of energy.  I feel spent after each rehearsal, but so happy.”  Frank Markus, who plays Todd the Scotsman, agrees:  What I enjoy about farce, when done quickly and properly, is the extent to which audiences invariably love them. This actor feeds on audience feedback and farces always deliver plenty of that.”  Similarly, Gary Weinstein, who plays Agent Frank, relishes the combination of a “fast-paced puzzle with dialogue that permeates the show along with the physical comedy that the characters display.” Erik Carlson (Mayor Meekly) calls Unnecessary Farce “a joy ride for the actors and audience. Quick paced and laugh out loud funny!”

Unnecessary Farce has 9 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 7 – 22. The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers. 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 22, 2020

Unnecessary Farce: A Sting with Zing!

The crazy cast of Unnecessary Farce: (On floor) Kyle Phillips; (Seated on bed L to R) Erik Carlson, Madeleine Bien, and Frank Markus; 
(Back row L to R) Gary Weinstein, Bonnie Fitch, and Ansley Barnard
PHOTO:  Paul Manoian

With a furiously fast pace, physical and psychological comedy, and a police force determined to expose a corrupt politician, Unnecessary Farce presses all the right comedic buttons.  This timely tale runs from February 7 – 22 at the Farmington Players Barn Theater and features many favorite Barn veterans and some talented newcomers.


Gary Weinstein plays Agent Frank, who Gary describes as having “multiple levels of emotional strength and weakness, fear and humility, all rolled up into one vulnerable character.”  Gary finds the theme of “underlying political corruption pertinent to today’s environment,” and enjoys the plot’s “fast-paced puzzle.”  Agent Frank is working with police officer Eric Sheridan (Kyle Phillips) and his partner Billie Dwyer (Ansley Barnard), who together with accountant Karen Brown (Madeleine Bien), are trying to expose Mayor Meekly (Erik Carlson) in an embezzlement scheme.  Bonnie Fitch as Mrs. Meekly and Frank Markus as the Scotsman Todd round out this all-star cast.

The key ingredients in a good farce are characters that face high stakes and take themselves seriously in increasingly crazy situations.  So what’s at stake for these characters?   Kyle sees Eric Sheridan as a “straight-laced cop who is extremely excited for his big break at a real sting operation. This is a big opportunity, and my partner Billie, though a good friend, is not the most decorated person on the force either. But we've been chosen to get the mayor to confess to embezzling millions.”  Similarly, Ashley sees Billie Dwyer as “searching for her moment of glory, where she can feel like she finally ‘made it’ as a cop.  Despite its increasingly ludicrous and hilarious situations, the show is charming because the characters are honest and genuine in their motivations.  Almost every character is actively attempting to be their best self and I think we can all relate to that.”  While most characters realize the peril they face, Mayor Meekly is blissfully ignorant.  As Erik says, the Mayor “keeps trying to have a meeting with Ms. Brown but things keep getting in the way. When we finally do have the meeting, the Mayor doesn’t realize that we are being videotaped by the people in the next room.”

The play’s highest stakes are revealed by Todd, a Scottish hitman, whose mission is to eliminate one of the officers. Frank Markus describes Todd as “the enforcer in a Scottish mafia. A killer in a kilt. Farces don't get much more farcical than that!  I mean, the Scots make great whiskey and have invented all sorts of stuff like the steam engine, but as a people we seldom think of them as ruthless killers. It's also loads of fun to develop an accent that the author demands be, for the most part, so thick as to be unintelligible.”

Unnecessary Farce has 9 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from February 7 – 22. The show is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers. 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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