By Helena Rodriguez
Pulling off a wildly funny Neil Simon play where rumors fly and doors constantly open and shut is not about location, said actress Trenity J. Hill, it’s about timing.
Cues are relative in Clovis Community Colleges’ upcoming play, “Rumors,” which another cast member, Chris Journey, describes not so much as a “whodunit,” but more of a “what-happpened-here?” scenario.
“Timing is the most important part,” Ryan Jason Cook, one of the 11 cast members, agreed. “It is all about the speed you pick up a cue when a door opens and another closes. That is how you keep the audience. It is very fast-paced.”
The momentum builds easily in this comedy centered around a group of friends invited to a fancy dinner party. Things go haywire from the beginning when guests arrive to find their host with a gunshot wound and the hostess missing. Rumors begin flying as more guests arrive and the lies build up.
The group attempts to sort things out before police arrive, but this only leads to a final, riotous climax.
“The play is really about lying,” said Don Criss, who was brought in as a guest director. “The guests start lying to protect friends and then it gets further and further into storytelling.”
Clovis Community College generally produces a summer musical, but Criss said he opted for the Neil Simon production when he was asked to step into the director’s seat.
“I really enjoy doing this kind of play. It is fast-paced, and if you do it right, the audience will be surprised and it will be intense,” Criss said.
“Simon is a real craftsman with words,” he added.
Criss compares the play to a modern day TV sitcom, noting that Simon was a TV writer before he begin writing plays. The play contains some mature subject matter and is not suitable for children.
Journey said, “My first impression of this play is that it is absolutely hysterical. The momentum is definitely the most challenging part.”
Other cast members in “Rumors” include Aleiha Applegarth, Janet Bresenham, Andrew Goven, Eric Kluth, Monica Lopez Martinez, Daniel Motley, Mark Schmidt and Edward Yankovich.