Laughs abound in the play within a play 'Play On!'
Every actor's worst nightmare — a playwright who keeps changing his mind in the middle of a show — is a recipe for disaster in Actors and Artists of Fayette County's production of “Play On!” from May 10 to 13 at Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale.
Rick Abbot's comedy is a play within a play about a small community group of actors preparing to stage a new theater piece titled “Murder Most Foul” for the first time. With opening night just around the corner and final rehearsals well under way, the author upsets the flow of the cast and director when he decides to re-write the play, change the actors' lines and add a new character.
“It's not a smooth ride, as the playwright is constantly making changes to the script, to the point where the actors and the stage hands cannot keep the show straight,” says cast member Kaylee Hansberry of Lower Burrell. “What makes this show so fun and complex is the ability for the actors to play two different characters with very contrasting personalities.”
Funny sight gags
Marilyn Forbes of Mt. Pleasant directs “Play On!” and says that anyone who has ever participated in a theater production should relate to and appreciate this show.
“It's fun and fast paced and some of the sight gags are some of the funniest I have ever seen,” she says. “It's just great entertainment and complete fun.”
The play is divided into three acts, with Act I taking place four nights before the show opens. Act II is during the dress rehearsal and the last act is the show's opening night
“The fun of the play is that the show's playwright keeps adding new scenes, so it's utter chaos from the get go,” Forbes says.
Cast member Diana Lucia of Mt. Pleasant says “Play On!” is different from anything else she has been involved in because of the way the cast switches back and forth from their “Play On!” roles to the characters they portray in “Murder Most Foul.”
She says audiences will get a lesson in everything that can possibly go wrong when staging a performance, “and in this show, everything does.”
Even if they're not performers themselves, Forbes says theatergoers just might come away with a new sense of respect for actors and crew members and what they go through to bring a production to the stage.
The show is rated PG-13 for language and some adult scenes.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.