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Next Geyer Performing Arts Center show features members of 2 families

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The cast of Actors and Artists of Fayette County's 'The Boardinghouse' rehearse a scene for the show which opens Thursday at the Geyer Performing Arts Center. First row, from left: Lisa Ernesty, stage manager John Wisilosky standing in for Nathan Forbes and Carol Westerman. Second row, from left: Marilyn Forbes, Chelsea Forbes, Wanda Wokulich and Paul Appleby.
Linsa Harkcom | For The Independent-Observer
The cast of Actors and Artists of Fayette County's 'The Boardinghouse' rehearse a scene for the show which opens Thursday at the Geyer Performing Arts Center. First row, from left: Lisa Ernesty, stage manager John Wisilosky standing in for Nathan Forbes and Carol Westerman. Second row, from left: Marilyn Forbes, Chelsea Forbes, Wanda Wokulich and Paul Appleby.

Actors and Artists of Fayette County's production of “The Boardinghouse” this weekend at the Geyer Performing Arts Center is truly a family affair.

Not only is the show appropriate for all ages with a main character who likes to offer motherly advice, but the show has two families in its cast.

“The Boardinghouse,” a two-act comedy written by Vern Harden, focuses on the residents of a facility that is owned by Harriet (Laurie Watson), who gives her motherly advice to everyone.

The house is filled with several tenants and also is welcoming its latest in hired help, something that has been difficult to attain. “Tweenie” played by Wanda Wokulich is the latest serving girl, who seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or at least it seems so to her.

The tenants, who are less than your normal fare., include hypochondriac Martha, (Lisa Ernesty), and taxidermist Gladys (Marilyn Forbes), who also is known to speak to various spirits including her dead husband.

There is a Mr. Richards (Paul Appleby), who feels that he could be the world's greatest writer — if he ever finds out what to write about. Ivy (Diana Lucia) who is cheerful and sweet and loves to paint — people's faces that is — and her nurse is a very harried Hortense, played by Carol Westerman.

The boardinghouse supposedly may have one day been the hiding place for the gold of pirate Captain Schnook, enter brother and sister Dirk Shadow and Veronica, played by real life brother and sister Nathan and Chelsea Forbes. Once they enter the scene, what follows is a fast-paced, slapstick comedy on who will find the gold — if there is any gold.

Throw in the antics of retired doctor Sni-Fell (Ernie Watson) and you have a cast of less than “average” folks.

Laurie Watson of Brownsville is no stranger to the stage and neither is her husband Ernie Watson. The couple has performed together in at least 100 shows, the last time being AAFC's production of “Seussical” in the summer of 2012.

Laurie Watson said she has played her husband's wife and his mother and sometimes they are just the same show together, but their characters do not have a specific relationship. She said performing with her husband has its advantages and disadvantages.

“We can run our lines together. Also depending on the roles we are playing the chemistry is very natural and you do not necessarily have to act,” she said. “He critiques me, and is usually very critical wanting me to act or react a certain way.”

Three members of the Forbes family of Mt. Pleasant are also in the cast, mother Marilyn and daughter Chelsea, 22, and son Nathan, 24.

The three actors have done several shows that two of them have been in the cast in various combinations, but this is only the third time the three of them will all perform together. The last show they did together was AAFC's “Bah Humbug.”

“That is actually one of the main reason that all of us are doing it — for the chance to work together again. We love doing shows together, especially comedies,” said Marilyn Forbes. “I think it's cool that Nathan and Chelsea get to play an actual brother and sister and they are great together, good comedic chemistry which I think adds a little more fun for everyone. Nathan's character actually flirts a little with the lady I play, which everyone finds funny.”

She said acting and performing has always been part of their family life.

“When they were growing up, we used to do plays here at the house, usually ones that Chelsea wrote and even Jack (her husband) would be in those,” she said. “We used to also perform little shows here for each other like talent shows. They pretty much grew up play acting and singing and it was always fun.

Nathan Forbes said he enjoys performing on stage with his mother and sister.

“It's fun to work together,” he said. “They are as kooky as I am. We really enjoy doing shows because we know each other so well and it's easy to play off one another.”

Chelsea Forbes said her parents were the reason she first started doing theater and she has continued doing theater because of her brother's unrelenting support with every show.

“I love performing with my brother and my mother because that's what they are — my family. In theater, a lot of casts get extremely close during a show and call them their “theater family.” How lucky am I to have both my real family and a family that may not be blood, but are just as close and supportive, involved in a craft I love. I have missed doing shows with my brother especially since he has not been involved in theater for a while and I am so glad to be able to play his annoying sister in this show. They say theater imitates life after all,” she said.

Chelsea Forbes said she feels the show will be well received by the audience.

“It is full of amazing comedic timing and quick wit, with a mystery and some ‘romance' thrown in. The cast is full of theater veterans and some newer to our stage, yet we all work together and have made this an amazing and fun experience to be involved in. If you like to laugh, you'll thoroughly enjoy this production,” she said.

The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with evening performances at the same time through Saturday. There will be a show at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10. The run time is a little less than two hours, with a 20-minute intermission.

Marilyn Forbes said the show is perfect for all ages.

“It's fast-paced enough for the little ones to enjoy, but not too silly where it will put off any adults,” she said. “It's just plain silliness and fun.”

Linda Harkcom is a contributing writer.

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