The eclectic and sometimes hilarious entanglements that can occur in modern romances are under the spotlight in Thomasville On Stage and Company’s spring production of Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite.”
The show opens Friday and runs the next three weekends, including during Rose Festival, at the TOSAC Storefront Theater, located at 117 S. Broad St.
The award-winning comedy is set inside one suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. The play’s three acts showcase three radically different couples who all stay in that particular suite, 719, at different times.
“If you like to laugh, come see this show,” director Tiffany Underwood said. “It has outrageous slap-your-knee moments, others when you don’t know if you should laugh or not, and some where everyone is laughing.”
Multi-talented Underwood, who has been in and directed several TOSAC productions, said in an event press release, the way Simon writes could be construed “as a serious drama that is hidden inside the comedy.”
“It is rewarding finding the comedy and working with this group of actors to bring the ‘funny’ off the page and to the audience,” the director said in the release.
The first couple is suburbanites Karen and Sam Nash, who return to the room for the first time in more than 20 years. One thinks it is their anniversary while the other disagrees, and the duo end up facing some hard truths about their relationship and each other.
Actor Mike Herrin portrays Sam. Herrin calls his character “vain, self-pitying and in love with youth.” But, in some ways, he can relate to Sam.
“Sam is 51 and I am 51,” Herrin said. “I understand his position in life and his desire to feel young and alive as he travels through middle age.”
The second act has big shot Hollywood producer Jesse Kiplinger coming face-to-face with his high school flame, Muriel Tate. Jesse is looking to seduce Muriel, but will she let herself be played?
“The second scene is the one that made me say I’d do this play,” Underwood said. “It’s spicy with a little bit of laughter.”
Underwood calls the last act “hysterical.”
The final couple is Roy and Norma Hubley, who go to interesting lengths while exacerbating their already strained relationship to get their nervous daughter, who has locked herself in the bathroom, down the aisle.
“Patrons will enjoy seeing how they will lure their daughter Mimsey out of the bathroom in time to marry her true love Borden Eisler, who is waiting impatiently with guests and family downstairs,” Nancy Byars, show publicity coordinator, said in an event release. “The Baroque ballroom is packed and Mimsey has a bad case of cold feet. Roy is the penny-pinching father who isn’t making it any easier for Mimsey to gather her courage and come out.”
Between acts, cast members dressed as hotel staff will entertain the audience as they ready the set for the next couple.
This is actress Katie Becker’s first show with TOSAC – she plays Muriel and, briefly, Mimsey – and she is enjoying the theater’s intimacy with its audience. Becker says, because this show’s scenes are so small, the audience can really focus on each couple.
“I think every scene evaluates the relationship between two people and their complexities,” she said. “The audience can come away thinking about their own lives and how it would relate to the couples onstage.”
Show dates are Friday through Sunday, April 23-24 and April 29-May 1. All Friday and Saturday productions are at 8 p.m., and Sunday shows start at 2 p.m. Seats cost $15 each for adults and $12 for students.
For tickets, contact the TOSAC box office at (229) 226-0863 or visit the website www.tosac.com to make a reservation.
Previously printed in the Thomasville Times-Enterprise.