It’s that time of year again. The Orange Community Players, Inc. is kicking off their new season as their membership drive continues.

First time in the director’s chair is Andrew Gibson. Many saw Gibson in last year’s season finale, “Hair Spray” as Corny Collins.

Gibson chose “The Boys Next Door” for his directorial debut because it was the first production he was in during high school under Brooke Doss.

The Boys Next Door is about mentally challenged men of different diagnoses that live in a group setting. Not an easy challenge for a director or actors. The characters have to be treated with dignity, while at the same time maintaining the humor of different life situations as faced by those that process life differently.

“I want [the audience] to laugh with them, not at them,” said Gibson. I would say they are off to a good start. I laughed several times, which normally I don’t do at rehearsals.

Daniel Sharpless and Zech Turk play men that suffer from mental retardation. Men with the mind of a child. I actually think they have a pretty good handle on the characters. I have such a man living in my household and I grew up with another. There is great comedy in the unique way they see life. They are also very serious in other areas that a “normal person” wouldn’t give a second thought to. I could see that in Sharpless’ Norman Bulansky and Turk’s Lucien P. Smith.

Some of the other actors are still discovering their characterizations. Brooke and Kevin Doss gave the cast many suggestions on how they can bring the characters into their souls, actually becoming the character and not just acting the part.

There are some great veteran’s in the show, so I’m sure they will pull it off. Like I said, I laughed a lot.

Gibson said it has been difficult directing and acting in the play at the same time. He had to take on a large role when the actor in a major part backed out. He plays the Jack, the manager of the men in the home and also the narrator. The rest of the cast is Robert Reazie as Arnold Wiggins; John Hall as Barry Klemper; Milton Hardin as Mr. Hedges/Senator Clarke/Mr. Corbin; Skylar Huckaby as Sheila; Bré Norton as Clara/Mrs. Fremus/Mrs. Warren; and John David is a new comer to OCP as Mr. Klemper.

The Boys Next Door written by Tom Griffin takes the stage beginning Thursday. Performances are scheduled at 7:37 p.m., Aug. 18-20 and Aug. 25-27. There will be a matinee at 2:37 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 28. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students. Reservations can be made by leaving a message at 409-882-9137.

The Orange Community Playhouse is located at 708 W. Division Ave. in Orange.

Season memberships are still being accepted for as little as $40 for adults and $25 for students. Fill out the form in this weeks Record Newspaper and bring it to the theater with you or mail it in to the PO Box provided on the form.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.