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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • New show opens at Depot Theater Company

  •      The recipe for a classic farce includes a few sure-fire elements: lots of doors where characters can just barely miss running into each other as they come and go at a madcap pace, numerous cases of mistaken identity as characters confuse two people who don't even look alike, and a central character who is trying to get away with something.


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  •      The recipe for a classic farce includes a few sure-fire elements: lots of doors where characters can just barely miss running into each other as they come and go at a madcap pace, numerous cases of mistaken identity as characters confuse two people who don't even look alike, and a central character who is trying to get away with something.
         "To me, classic farce is harder than drama," said Mark Vierthaler, who plays Bernard, the central character in "Boeing Boeing," which opens tonight at the Depot Theater Company.
         "Farce is all about timing and characterization and you have to create that farcical situation without going overboard and ruining the comedy," he said.
         Vierthaler, a veteran of several farces, both in the Homestead Theater and at the Depot, was set to direct the production but when he ran into casting problems, he stepped on stage as an actor and his wife, Jennifer, volunteered to direct.
         "You do what you have to do to make sure the show opens," actor Mark Vierthaler said.
         "I took over the day rehearsals were scheduled to start. I hadn't even read the script. I inherited the cast and a set design and things have worked out great," director Jennifer Vierthaler said.
         "And I had to stop myself several times during rehearsals — 'You're not the director anymore, stop expressing your opinions,'" said actor Vierthaler.
         The two share the same take on directing a farce: the characters can't realize that what's happening to them is funny.
     
    A bunch of characters
         "Boeing, Boeing" is the first production in the company's 30th season.
         "It's appropriate that we have in the cast someone who was involved with the founding of the company 30 years ago and someone who's not only making her debut with the company but also appearing in her first stage production ever," director Vierthaler said.
         Connie Penick, company administrator, appeared in the company's first evening of one-act plays in 1983. The show was a melodrama called "The Drunkard's Wife," and Penick played the mother of the heroine.
         Since then, Penick has done everything from directing to stage managing, from costumes to make-up and props. She played the Mother Superior in four "Nunsense" productions and now serves as the company's manager.
         Joining Vierthaler and Penick in the cast are Rick Druse, Amanda Dahna, Nicole Smith and, making her first stage appearance, Nancy Calderon.
         The cast has completed nearly five weeks of rehearsals, working three hours five night each week.
         The show opens tonight and runs for three weeks.
         "The schedule is a little different for this show," director Vierthaler said.
         "There aren't any Thursday performances or any matinees, so the shows are on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. And we've added a couple of days to the end of the run to extend into Dodge City Days."
    Page 2 of 2 -      The usual schedule closes the show on a Saturday evening performance. For this production, performances have been added on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at the end of the run, extending the closing to July 31.
         "We'll still have the Dodge City Days cabaret at the end of that week," actor Vierthaler said.
         "We're just trying to capitalize on the additional people who will be in town for Dodge City Days."
         The actors realized quickly that keeping up the energy required for a farce will be a challenge.
         "The play is three acts and there are seven doors on the set — it's a marathon," actor Vierthaler said.
         And as the situations get more and more complicated, the pace has to increase.
         The work of the actors on stage is supported by a design team that includes a set design by Dave Wetmore, lighting design by Jennifer Vierthaler, sound design by Kyle Tallent and costume design by Dee Miller. Darleen Clifton Smith is stage manager.
    All this and food
         In an effort to adapt their routine to the needs of the summer show audience, the company is changing the food service for this production.
         Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., at which time a variety of hors d'houvres will be served in the lobby and the cash bar will be open. Patrons can take their goodies into the theater where coffee, tea and water will be served and a wine steward will be available. Dessert will be served at intermission.
         "We really encourage people to come out and support our summer show. It's great to have theater of this caliber and to be celebrating 30 seasons. We'd like to see 30 more," actor Vierthaler said.
    If you go
    What: "Boeing, Boeing," a classic farce
    When: Opens tonight for a three-week run, closing July 31. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show begins at 7:30 p.m.
    Hors d'oeuvres served, cash bar available, dessert included.
    Where: The Depot Theater Company in the restored Santa Fe Depot.
    Reservations: call (620) 225-1001.
     

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