OCP presents “The Odd Couple”
One is a complete slob who takes life as it comes and not too seriously. The other is a compulsive neat freak with a woe is me attitude always trying to invite people to join his pity party; such is “The Odd Couple.”
The small cast of eight, directed by Codie Vasquez, takes the Orange Community Players’ stage in a seven day run this Thursday.
Vasquez said the cast was nervous about having me at rehearsal Monday because they were still having a lot of line issues. I must say, they are pretty good ad-libbers because I only saw about three stumbles with only one super obvious dropping of a line. If the actor hadn’t said, “Oh sh__!” he might have remembered his line by the time he reached the door or recovered without me noticing.
Quite honestly, it seemed more polished and flowed better than they usually do when I go to an early dress rehearsal the week before performances start. They always get things ironed out in those last few days. I’m used to finishing touches still being done on staging and light cues. Most of that had already been completed. I always have to give a little latitude and can tell what the performance will be like after those next few rehearsals. It’s easy to tell by then where the strong performances will be. This was no exception.
The role of Oscar Madison fit Michael Goldman like a glove. Vasquez said Goldman is from Lake Charles and also played in last year’s production of “I’m not Rappaport.”
He seemed very comfortable in the role and it looked like he enjoyed being the slob.
Robert Freeman plays the neurotic Felix Unger. It doesn’t feel as if he has settled into his character as well as Goldman yet, but Freeman is a veteran OCP performer and should make it his own by Thursday. It’s not a bad performance; it just still feels like a performance. He’s not Felix yet, he’s still playing Felix.
The other males in the cast are Alaniz Vasquez as Murray; Ron Rudeseal as Speed; Daniel Grooms as Vinnie; and Barry Foster as Roy. These characters are Felix and Oscar’s poker buddies. The entire first scene takes place at Oscar’s during the weekly poker game. Vasquez, another veteran, and Codie’s husband, gives a very genuine performance. This is only Grooms’ and Foster’s second production according to the director. She said Grooms was in the chorus of “Urinetown” and Foster had a small part in “Oliver.”
Also notable were performances of the two female characters, the Pigeon sisters. Cecily is played by Linda Grooms and Gwendolyn is played by Christine Brown-Zeto. They were fun characters of British descent. Linda Grooms had a speaking part in “Urinetown” and has performed in the Service League “Follies.” Brown-Zeto is an OCP veteran returning to the stage. Taking a break while her child was young, this is her first time back on stage since “Post Mortem.”
It should be a fun time as a dysfunctional couple comprised of a divorced man and his separated buddy drive each other nuts in this Neil Simon classic.
Assistant Director for the production is Seth Patin. Daryll Droll was the set builder.
The production is scheduled to begin this Thursday. Performances are scheduled for Feb. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11 at 7:37 p.m. and Feb. 12 at 2:37. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $5 for students. Call 882-9137 for reservations. The theater is located at 708 W. Division Ave. in Orange
For more information check out www.orangecommunityplayers.com