Rumors will be flying at new LCT production
The year was 1988, and playwright Neil Simon was looking for a little humor in the darkness of his own life. The result of his search was "Rumors," the two-act farce that will soon play out on stage at the Lawton Community Theatre under the direction of David Fennema.
"Rumors" takes place on the evening of a 10th anniversary dinner party. When the guests arrive for the celebration, they find the husband bleeding from an apparent gunshot wound and the wife has gone missing. What follows is a chaotic night of finger pointing and accusations as the guests attempt to solve the mystery.
"It's a very exciting and complex play. I have a wonderful group of actors that I'm working with and I feel that we will be able to give the citizens of Lawton a fun time," Fennema said.
Fennema is well-known in the local theater scene. He is the former chair of Cameron University's Theatre Department and has been in Lawton for over 30 years. During that time he directed countless local productions.
However, this will be Fennema's first time directing "Rumors."
Fennema didn't want to spoil the plot too much, but said that Simon wrote the play when he was experiencing a particularly rocky time in his own marriage.
"I always try to do something I've never done; it keeps me active. It keeps my brain cells going," Fennema said. "Neil Simon is very demanding as a playwright."
The play itself, despite its comedic nature, becomes an exploration of four couples and their marriages.
"It's not a murder mystery, but it does have that through line of 'what happened?'" Fennema said. "Some of it is absolutely slapstick. There are moments in it that go right back to the Marx Brothers, and Laurel and Hardy. You also have this constant exploration of what a marriage is - and how rumors get started."
The cast of ten has been working diligently to get their lines down for opening night. According to Fennema, the cast performs as an ensemble, with no one actor or actress having a starring role.
"My cast, I think, is discovering just how much is demanded of each one of them. Everybody has to work and everyone has to pull their own weight. It's their roles in relationship to everybody else's role. It is hard, but it's been a wonderful experience for me as a director," Fennema said.
Fennema hopes that audiences will have a lot of fun at the show, but he does warn that it contains what he calls "New York Language."
"You probably would not encourage terribly young people to come see the show," Fennema said.