BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Double mask and bring your dobber to the Old Fort Player’s production of The Queen of Bingo starting Friday in Fort Madison.
The winter performance of the Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy comedy is dedicated to former youth actor Zephan Abel who died last year due to complications from a vascular procedure. Abel was prominent in many past OFP productions.
The two-act play focuses on the BINGO hall conversations of two sisters. Sis, played by OFP board member Dorothy Schulte, and “Babe” played by seven-year OFP alum Richar Abel, Zephan’s mother.
Sis is a widower who’s found comfort and friendship in the BINGO Halls of Battle Creek, Michigan. Her frustration with her sisters manic mood swings is surpassed only by the patience she has in dealing them.
Babe is a quasi foul-mouthed, woe-is-me sister who relies on Sis for confirmation and compassion as they banter with quick humor at others in the hall.
Sis just may be addicted to the dulcet tones emanating from the soft microphones of various game halls, and is playing at a few more places than even she likes to admit. The other may be addicted to what’s in the fridge.
In the end, it’s not all about the Benjamins, but the bond that exists between the single sisters, complete with magnetic chip grabbers, good luck charms and church basement gossip.
The audience is even pulled into the action with a live BINGO call just prior to the intermission where a real winner will receive a prize after filling the BINGO card in their playbill.
There will also be a raffle to help raise funds for the playhouse after COVID all but shut down production in 2020.
Performances run February 5-7 & 12-14, 2021. Evening shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and the curtain rises for Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. (Adult $15; Senior, Military, Vet $12; Student $10.)
Tickets are available online now and the link to purchase is posted on www.oldfortplayers.com and the theater’s Facebook page. For those wanting to pay cash or credit for tickets at the door, you can and should reserve your seat by phone or Facebook Messenger.
Seating is limited due to COVID-19 and masks will be required.