Apple Hill Playhouse tackles aging with a comedic twist
Getting older is no fun, but as they say, it sure beats the alternative.
Apple Hill Playhouse will confront the agony of aging head on when it presents Michael and Susan Parker’s saucy senior comedy, “Sex Please, We’re Sixty,” July 4-14 at the Delmont theater.
Ron Ferrara of Vandergrift directs the show and says he’s had great success with Parker productions in the past, including “Love, Sex and the IRS,” “Whose Wives are They Anyway?” and “Sin, Sex and the CIA.”
“As the title suggests, the play has adult themes, but the language is benign and the action fast-paced,” he says. “The playwrights’ purpose is to make the audience laugh for two hours and I believe we will fulfill that goal.”
The cast includes a handful of seasoned local performers, including Andy Nesky of Munhall, Shirley Ratner of Greensburg, Shelly Spataro of New Kensington, Terri Bowser of Jeannette and Pam Farneth of New Kensington. Joining them in his Apple Hill debut will be Mark Boles of Monroeville.
Boles portrays Bud “the Stud” Davis – a neighbor of Mrs. Stancliffe’s Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast run by Mrs. Stancliffe (Ratner) – who is convinced that the ladies who return each year are drawn to him romantically.
Her other neighbor and would-be suitor, Henry Mitchell (Nesky), is a retired chemist that developed a yet untested pill called “Venusia,” after Venus, the goddess of love, that is designed to increase the passion in older women.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Stancliffe “is the most reserved, serious and conservative of all the women in the show,” says Ratner. “My most physical demands are to find big body and facial reactions in response to the other characters.”
High-energy Southern belle
Quite the opposite of Mrs. Stancliffe is Charmaine Beauregard, played by Farneth, who describes her character as “the quintessential Southern belle with her Southern accent, voluptuous outgoing gushing and charm. I romp and run around a lot so it’s full of high energy on my part – all tastefully done.”
Farneth says her character’s outdoing personality isn’t very different from her own.
“I think people love laughing at themselves and this play does a good job of (showing) how we all feel getting to that middle age part of life,” she says.
Ratner agrees that “laughter is the best medicine” and says that “with this show, audiences will feel the joy of laughing at something totally silly. I think they will come away feeling that they had a good time.”
Farneth recently directed “Moonlight and Magnolias” at Apple Hill, where she has performed in productions such as “Steel Magnolias,” “Boeing, Boeing” and “Dixie Swim Club” and at New Kensington Civic Theater, including in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”
Ratner has been seen in 14 Apple Hill plays opposite Dennis “Chip” Kerr of Greensburg in shows such as “Mixed Emotions,” “The Gin Game” and “On Golden Pond.”
Ferrara has directed “Comedy of Tenors” and “Boeing, Boeing” at Apple Hill, “Kalamazoo” for The Theatre Factory and “Fox on the Fairway” for New Kensington Civic Theater, among others.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.