Neil Simon Play on stage at Farmington High School

The Farmington High School Theater Guild presents Neil Simon's play "Rumors" on stage at Truman Auditorium on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and with curtain at 7 p.m. 

Craig Vaughn, Daily Journal

The Farmington High School Theater Guild will bring Neil Simon’s "Rumors" to the stage at Truman Auditorium for a three-night run.

The classic play will run Thursday through Saturday with doors opening at 6 p.m. and curtain at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $5.

Simon’s comedic farce opened Nov. 17, 1988, on Broadway. The show takes place during a 10th anniversary dinner in a large home just outside of New York City. The first couple to arrive discovers that one of their hosts (Charley) has unsuccessfully attempted suicide. Charley’s wife, Myra, is nowhere to be found and neither are the servants. Through the course of the show, the audience never meets Charley or Myra. As more guests arrive, there are cover-ups, deceptions and mistaken identities.

“I really love Neil Simon plays,” said Director Diana Mays-Nielson. “I felt as if the play would be a challenge for my kids in terms of the play is a farce with a lot of doors opening and slamming, people entering and exiting the stage.”

For Brady Poucher, who plays Glenn Cooper, the comedic timing is exactly what made him want to audition for the classic comedy - yet made the production a challenge as well.

“The hardest part of this play is getting the tempo of all the lines because it is such a fast-moving play,” Poucher said. “I think once you get that, this is when the real comedy comes out.”

Additionally, many of the young actors were drawn to the play because of Simon’s signature style of comedy which relies on timing, wit and a more cerebral sense of humor.

“Neil Simon is known for his zingers and incorporating a lot of hidden jokes into the play,” said Addy Hall, who plays Cassie Cooper. “A lot of plays rely on slapstick. But with him, you have to listen. There is a lot of cool things hidden within. I think we were all pretty excited about doing a play that wasn’t a bunch of people falling over each other.”

Although Mays-Nielson had some trepidation at first about doing the play, she felt confident her students were up for the challenge.

“I kind of said 'let’s try it and see what the kids could do,'” Mays-Nielson said. “I figured I could fill in what they didn’t understand. We did have to have some conversations because of the time it was set in.”

One example of a generational gap came during a dancing scene. The young actors started to dance as if they would today. Mays-Neilson had to tell them “The Dab” was not something they would have done in the '80s or '90s.

Another generational difference in the play for May-Nielson’s actors came with the use of landline phone.

“One of the character is using a landline phone,” Mays-Nielson said. “When she says she wasn’t getting a good connection, she holds the phone in the air like you would do with a cell phone. I had to tell her that was not a thing.”

What excited the actors the most about this play was not the humor nor the cerebral writing, but how each actor was able to develop their character’s personality.

“I don’t think any of us have ever played a character that are not very well developed,” said Hall. “We got to put a lot more of our own personality into our character.

The cast includes Ann Raymer as Chris Gorman; CJ Hart as Ken Gorman; Grace Gilliam as Claire Ganz; Ryan Fuemmeler as Lenny Ganz; Jacob Henderson as Ernie Cusack; Emmagyn Parton as Cookie Cusack; Brady Poucher as Glenn Cooper; Addy Hall as Cassie Cooper; Kirby Fletcher as Officer Welch; Isabella Clubb as Officer Pudney; Assistant Director/Stage manager Marion Burnette and Assistant Director/Assistant Stage Manager Hanna Hughes.

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