A Little Play Update On the Side

A Little Play Update On the Side

Joe Canuso

As October moves along, we continue to anticipate the opening of the fall production, A Little Hotel on the Side. This play, a French farce written by Georges Feydeau, opens Friday, November 1. This farce is filled with physical and verbal comedy, and is bound to have the audience laughing all the way through.

Benoit Pinglet (Joe Canuso ’14) doesn’t have the most loving feelings towards his wife, Angelique (Villa Maria’s Shannon Maguire ’14). Pinglet’s best friend, Paillardin (Jack Marchesani ’15) and his wife, Marcelle (Villa’s Kat Napoli ’14) also do not have the greatest marriage. We find hilarious arguments between these couples and side-splitting insults that the audience will love.

Pinglet believes that it would be a good idea to take his best friend’s wife on a little rendezvous behind Paillardin’s back. They go to the Free Trade Hotel for this little get-together, but they aren’t alone, as many different coincidences bring not only Paillardin, but Pinglet’s good friend Matthieu (Matt Anthony ’14) who only stutters when it rains, Paillardin’s nephew, Maxime (John Kuyat ’15), and Pinglet’s maid, Victoire (Shannon Cattie ’14) to the hotel as well. This turns Pinglet’s romantic evening into a man’s worst nightmare.

“Art in general, whether it’s theater or not, is a way of communication,” said Dr. James Fry, Director of the Malvern Theatre Society.  “I also think it’s a way for people to escape reality for a while and go into the world of imagination and creativity. I think this play is one of those productions that will allow people to just sit back and laugh.”

Fry acknowledged that this show has been challenging as well as fun for the actors.  “I think the hardest part with any farce is the timing and not interrupting the timing. With farces, if the timing gets interrupted in a bad way, it could be very difficult to come back from that.”

Mr. Robert Muntz, who supervises the stage crew, described the set. “It’s a two-scene set with a hotel and an apartment. The show bounces back and forth between those two scenes.”

“The main challenge about this set is having an upstairs and being able to keep the actors hidden on the upstairs platforms when they aren’t supposed to be seen, and to keep them quiet while going down the stairs into the offstage wings,” said Muntz.  “The student crew is great. Our veterans are called upon to teach our newer members how to use the tools and how to think through the building processes. The kids take ownership of it and it all starts to flow by itself.”  The stage crew is led by Joe Martin (’15) and Colleen Kosachek (Villa ’14).

Jack Marchesani (‘15)  who plays the role of Paillardin, described what it is like to be part of this show and the Malvern Theatre Society. “In all honesty, playing Paillardin has not been all that special, and I can’t tell you it’s incredible. The way I see it, it’s just another role,” he said.

“The element of family in MTS is the single most important factor in every show. There’s not a day that goes by that we aren’t having fun and bonding, and we happen to put on a play in the process.”

On Opening Night, be prepared to laugh and have a great time. You will be glued to the plot up until the final curtain, and it will truly be a show to remember.

A Little Hotel on the Side runs November 1-2, 8-9 at the Duffy Art Center.  Tickets are available at www.malvernprep.org

Read more of Canuso’s interviews with Dr. Fry and Mr. Muntz below.

 

 

Dr. Jim Fry

Q: “What are you feelings about how the show is coming along?”

A: “I think it’s coming along really well. The cast is pretty much off book and we have about 4 weeks before we open, so this is a good place to be in, as now we can really work on character development and also work out some of the choreography that is demanded of this type of production.”

Q: “What is your hope for the audience’s reaction to this show?”

A: “I think art in general, whether it’s theater or not, is a way of communication. I also think it’s a way for people to escape reality for a while and go into the world of imagination and creativity. I think this play is one of those productions that will allow people to just sit back and laugh. There is a lot of humor, from physical comedy, to comedy from the language, to comedy of people in different situations that will allow people to sit back, laugh, and have a good time.”

Q: “What do you think will be the hardest part for the actors in the show?”

A: “I think the hardest part with any farce is the timing and not interrupting the timing. With farces, if the timing gets interrupted in a bad way, it could be very difficult to come back from that. Think about setting a metronome to a very consistent beat and rhythm. If that gets interrupted, sometimes it’s hard to recover. If you miss something or if something’s off, it’s off in a bad way and it can lose the humor that was intended.”

Q: “Are you excited for the show?”

A: “Absolutely. I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to opening night, and I’m looking forward to seeing the audience’s reaction to this. We have had very generous audiences with their support, laughter, and patronage, and we’re hoping this is going to be another one of those cases.”

 

Mr. Rob Muntz

Q: “Could you tell me a little bit about the set?”

A: “It’s a two-scene set with a hotel and an apartment. The show bounces back and forth between those two scenes. The hotel itself is an inspiration from several different images I’ve seen about this play and we are basically making a Malvern version of it to work with our theater space. The main challenge about this set is having an upstairs and being able to keep the actors hidden on the upstairs platforms when they aren’t supposed to be seen and to keep them quiet while going down the stairs into the offstage wings.”

Q: “What’s it like working with a student crew?”

A: “The student crew is great. Our veterans are called upon to teach our newer members how to use the tools and how to think through the building processes. The kids take ownership of it and it all starts to flow by itself, so I am very lucky to have these students that I’m working with to help build this set. I like to act as more of a moderator and not a dictator, allowing the students to take control. With tough tasks such as having a lot of doors being able to click open and closed, stand upright, be strong, be part of a wall and not just stand free, and of course be able to have the actors walk through them, I love having an experienced student working on each facet of the set with their own little team underneath them.”

Q: “What is your role on opening night?”

A: “I have different crew chiefs, Joe Martin (’15) and Colleen Kosachek (Villa ’14)  who have been taking notes from Dr. Fry about what has to happen with the set and the crew as the show goes along. I am a part of that; however I really want Joe and his upper class stage crew members to understand what has to happen and take ownership of what has to be done with that opening night set. The chiefs know that they have a list of jobs to direct our crew, like telling them what to be ready for and what’s coming up. And we practice these set changes like a football team practices their plays. I help where I can, but I really want the seniors and juniors to step up to the plate when it comes to running the show, and it becomes theirs. It’s not mine, it’s theirs.”