Theatre Factory gets to the heart of ‘Fuddy Meers’
Most typical days in many people’s lives are uneventful and not so noteworthy.
That’s not the case with Claire, one of the main characters in “Fuddy Meers,” a play being staged Feb. 22-March 3 at The Theatre Factory in Trafford.
Claire has a rare form of psychogenic amnesia that erases her memory when she goes to sleep, so every day she wakes up not knowing anything about herself or those around her and has to relearn everything – only to forget it again the next day.
A roller coaster ride
On one particular day, her life becomes more complicated than usual through a series of unexpected events by some bizarre characters that help to create what playwright David Lindsay-Abaire calls “a roller coaster ride marked by one harrowing and hilarious turn after another.”
“This is not your average comedy,” says Jeff Johnston of Pittsburgh, who directs the show. “There’s something for almost everyone. It is a farce, absurdist piece, gut buster and sitcom all rolled into one. Attendees will take away the complexities of life and how crazy things can get.”
While the premise of the play may sound confusing, Johnston says the show flows and builds beautifully. The play takes place within one day’s time and while the audience meets a lot of different people along the way, “it perfectly fits into one crazy day.”
The director says he respects the playwright with a gift for his writing about the most bizarre complex characters that at the same time are realistic and honest. Johnston performed in another one of Lindsay-Abaire’s plays, “Ripcord,” for New Kensington Civic Theatre last year, which made him anxious to direct his work.
Ups and downs
Beth Minda of Bell Township, who also performed in “Ripcord,” takes on the role of Claire and says her biggest challenge is in keeping her character’s innocence and wonder as she learns about her life over and over again.
“This show is funny, heart-warming, shocking and crazy all at the same time,” she says. “It’s like being on an amusement park ride with all of its ups and downs. You will be entertained for sure.”
Joe Eberle of Ross Township plays Richard, Claire’s husband who he says is basically a good man with a shady past. Like several characters in the show, Richard is searching for redemption.
“He’s done some very bad things, but has vowed to be a better person,” Eberle says. “The question is, has he really changed, or will his demons undermine his plans?”
He says in some ways, the play reminds him of “Pulp Fiction,” one of his favorite movies.
“It’s a little lurid and violent, and some of these characters aren’t the kind of people you’d want to hang out with, but it’s very entertaining and funny,” he says.
Johnston said the show contains a considerable amount of adult language that warrants “a strong PG-13” rating.
His directing credits include “Sylvia” for the Theatre Factory, “Christmas Story: The Musical” for Little Lake Theatre and “Brace” for Pittsburgh New Works Festival.
Minda has directed or music directed Springdale Junior Senior High School drama productions since 2008, besides acting in, directing or music directing shows for The Theatre Factory, Penn State New Kensington, New Kensington Civic Theatre and The Lamp Theatre.
Eberle has performed with Little Lake Theatre and also won a director’s award for “I Forgot to Worry” at The Pittsburgh New Works Festival.
The cast of “Fuddy Meers” also includes Jared Lewis, Kevin Bass, Kathleen Regan, Tom Protulipac and Kaitlin Cliber. Sue Kurey is stage manager.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.