Three directors provide fresh perspective for 'Plaza Suite'
by Marie Nesmith
Aug 18, 2011 | 2545 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ginny Slifcak and Mike Wasson try to persuade their characters’ daughter — played by the act’s director, Mallory Grantham — to join her wedding party in a scene from “Plaza Suite.”
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Opening Aug. 26, Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite" will provide three thespians -- Al Calsetta, Mallory Grantham and Laurel Lowe -- the opportunity to direct their first Pumphouse Players' production.

"This is one of Neil Simon's more popular plays for community theaters," said Mike Harris, vice president and marketing director for The Pumphouse Players. "Ever since it's been done on Broadway, one of the ways it's been presented [is] as three different story lines completely separate from one another. The only thing that they have in common is the location, that it takes place in the Plaza Hotel in New York that overlooks Central Park. Most plays usually have a bellhop or a waiter that shows up in every scene but the principal characters are played by different actors and that's fairly normal. And we're doing that too.

"Each act will have different actors and supporting actors in it. The only thing we've done that's really a little unique is we're also using three different directors for each one of the shows. So even though it's one playwright and one setting, one stage of course, it will be like a night of one acts, where maybe the directors have a little bit different pace, a little bit different point of view, a little bit different level of energy for their particular act. We're going to do the first two acts back to back, then we'll have an intermission. Then we'll close with the third act of the show."

After Friday, Aug. 26, the comedy will be presented on weekends through Sept. 3 at The Legion Theatre, 114 W. Main St. in Cartersville. The play will begin at 8 p.m. for every performance, except for the Aug. 28 show, which will start at 3 p.m.

According to The Pumphouse Players' news release, "Act 1, or 'Visitor From Mamaroneck,' is directed by Cartersville native, Al Calsetta. This act focuses on an unhappy couple, Karen and Sam Nash -- played by Lynn Fowler of Cartersville and Ron Connell of Kennesaw -- who are trying to relight the flame of passion by visiting their old honeymoon suite. But plans are thwarted when Sam's secretary -- [portrayed by] Donna Young of Taylorsville -- arrives, causing trouble.

The second act, 'Visitor from Hollywood,' is directed by Laurel Lowe of Cartersville. This story involves Jesse Kiplinger, a smooth-talking Hollywood producer -- played by John Walker, another Cartersville resident -- and his high-school sweetheart, Muriel Tate -- Erin Brown of Cartersville. Jesse repeatedly tries to seduce Muriel and ends up getting more than he bargained for. The final act, 'Visitor from Forest Hills,' is directed by Mallory Grantham of Woodstock. This act revolves around Roy and Norma Hubley -- played by Mike Wasson of Acworth and Ginny Slifcak of Woodstock -- fighting over the best way to get their daughter, the bride to be, out of the locked bathroom and downstairs where her groom and the guests await her."

For Grantham, who also will make a cameo appearance in the play's third act, "Plaza Suite" is an ideal opportunity for the directors to tackle a new aspect of the theater.

"Most of our shows have one director [and] one assistant director for the whole entire show. So it's different to see how the three acts will bring it all together with three different visions, but yet the overlying vision of the one, entire show," she said. "'Plaza Suite' is kind of unique anyway because the show itself is made up of three different situational comedies in one show. Each act is a separate entity but they all connect because they're all set in this one hotel room. The hotel room is kind of like the main character.

"My act is Act 3. ... And it's filled with antics [such as] trying to bust down the door to climbing out a window to get to the bathroom from another angle. But it's also a time of learning for the parents as well to see perhaps why their marriage may have influenced their daughter's view on her future. So it's very exciting to be working with some actors that I've worked with before and some that I have not -- some that are completely new to the theater itself. It's always nice to get new blood in The Pumphouse Players and give everybody an equal opportunity to do what they love to do."

Tickets to "Plaza Suite" are $12 for general admission and $10 for Pumphouse Players' members and groups of 10 or more. For more information, visit www.pumphouseplayers.com or call 770-387-2610.