BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It makes for ongoing laughs and the premise is as old as time itself. A group conversation goes awry as the true meaning of the issue at hand is riddled with individual misconceptions.
But in the case of the Old Fort Players’ “Misconceptions” the misguided conversation surrounds whether a woman is with child or just being a bit…. dramatic.
The two-act play opens Friday night, Feb. 16 with shows beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night. There will also be two Sunday afternoon performances on Feb. 18 and 25th beginning at 2 p.m.
Old Fort Players’ veteran Carol Parson brings a humorous childhood battle from more quiet days before the interruptions of the digital world into play. The play centers on two sisters – Dora, portrayed by Deanne Niggemeyer, a wise-cracking, instigating, but loving, sister of Claire, portrayed by Erin Thurman. Claire comes off as the long-suffering sibling who personifies the “woe-is-me” youngest child who never lives up to anyone’s expectations.
A low-grade feud erupts after a day where Dora attends a wedding and Clair attends a funeral and the rivalry is on. Niggemeyer and Thurman capture the sibling, now adult, rivalry with the typical name calling and one-upsmanship that is regularly prevalent in a traditional nuclear family.
Mom, played by Sherry Stice, throws gas on the fire, as she routinely admonishes the girls for not living up to their potential and, at the same time, accepts blames for it all for not being a good enough mother.
All the while, a man named Peter, portrayed by OFP vet Michael Randolph, has a longing interest in Claire, but remains aloof as a spat between Dora and Claire reveals a pregnancy. With his unexpected and poorly (or perfectly) timed appearance, Peter gets wrapped up in the dialogue. Mom’s excited that a baby may be on the way, and having always wanted a lawyer son-in-law goes over the moon for the newly arrived Peter.
It becomes laughable as the the one conversation sideswipes both Mom and Peter and the hilarity builds from there.
“I really think it’s one of the funniest ones we’ve done in a while,” Parson said. “I’ve done a lot of plays but I just adore this one.”
Parson said she read several plays and settled on “Misconceptions” because of the size of cast and the humor in the writing.
“I read several plays and I liked that one the best. There was another one that had a lot more cast and had a lot of guys and sometimes its hard to fill those roles.”
Parson said she’s been with OFP since 1982 and has directed a play in this slot every year since 1994.
“I’ve worked with all of them before, but haven’t directed them all before. Mike Randolph was in a play called Natalie Needs a Nightie in 2006 and I directed him in that one. It was funny that he was a guy who dressed up as a woman in the part. So I’ve worked with all of them before.”
The play was originally written by Michael Vukadinovich. Vukadinovich was awarded the Reverie Productions 2007 Next Generation Playwriting Award at just 26 years of age.
The play is sponsored by Old Fort Players, located at 725 Avenue G, and Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
Tickets are $12 each and students under 18 can watch the production for just $8. For more information, contact 372-9559.