|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 firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.