From Indianola to Buffalo
- By gentleguide
- On Sat 03 Mar 2018
Beginning March 8th and running through the 11th, Carousel Theatre in Indianola will take an evening trip to upstate New York with their production of the Ken Ludwig farce Moon Over Buffalo. Best known as the vehicle that brought comedy legend Carol Burnett back to Broadway, Moon Over Buffalo is a love letter to theatre fans everywhere, and especially to the wonderful actors who get to bring this farcical romp to life.
Moon Over Buffalo concerns a performing theatrical couple who are at odds with one another, and also at odds trying to perform two different plays. When their opportunity for the big time collides with their personal lives falling apart, and visits from many of those who are “helping” to dismantle those lives, it becomes a crazy and hilarious adventure for all (including the audience!)
Current Carousel Board President Deb Hade has the honor (and responsibility) of playing Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo. This is the role that Burnett essayed on Broadway, so you know it’s a comedic gold mine, and Deb looks forward to her opportunity to encompass the role. “This ‘Over-the-top” show is a wonderful experience for me,” says Deb. “Doing a farcical comedy demands that I go further with everything in terms of facial expressions, verbal responses, timing, and physical comedy. This has been a challenge, but also a joy. It takes me places I haven’t gone before and that is exhilarating.”
In addition to the chaos of the theatrical plot of Moon Over Buffalo, many of the characters are related (or soon to be related). Charlotte is married (not perfectly, by any means) to her co-star George (who is played by Deb’s real-life husband Joel Hade). And their “daughter” in the show (Rosalind, played by Hayley Rauzi) is engaged to young Howard (David Dubczak). All these actors are friends in real life, and it makes for some interesting times in rehearsal, plus a level of trust and understanding that is necessary in such an involved farce.
“I imagine Joel and Deb Hade (George and Charlotte) have a great time studying lines (especially the sword fighting)!” exclaims Dubczak. “I’ve been friends for a long time with Hayley (Roz), so it makes the chemistry between her and myself (Howard) develop easier. We have a great thing going where she pretty much guides me through my scenes because Howard is so nervous and uncomfortable that is what’s needed to make it work. We’ve never really done it the same way twice, but I feel the actions and reactions are always authentic.”
“Howard is in the position of meeting the in-laws for the first time, and being nervous and skittish makes this a challenge for him. Furthering the challenge is how the events of that night conspire to make it the worst time for him to try to get to know the family. Howard gets a pretty raw deal in this, but that’s part of the comedy. I’m a teacher, and I’ve told my students that ‘this is the silliest you will ever see me act in public on purpose.’”
“Howard’s personality is closer to my own than most people realize. Outwardly, I do a good job of acting like the anti-Howard, but inwardly, I know exactly what’s going through Howard’s head through most of this production, and it’s been great to watch that come out.”
Over the Moon
Back to Deb for her perspective on playing opposite her “husband”, both in the play and in everyday reality. “I am married to ‘George’ in real life,” she relates. “It has been great to practice lines with him to work out the kinks. I also have a great deal of trust in him both on and off stage. We can read each other well. It also helps with all the off stage things that need to be done. We are in the same boat as we rush through dinner to get to rehearsal. We both have to spend our weekend building the set. We often laugh and quote a line from the play in normal conversations.”
That confidence is also found in relating to the others involved in Carousel Theatre. Trust and understanding are things that truly only develop with time, and as an organization, Carousel Theatre has had a core group that has grown and strengthened over the years.
“I would also add that Carousel Theatre of Indianola is a very rewarding experience for many. Joel and I have been involved for 25 years and have seen many changes in that time. Even though we remain ‘grassroots’ and focused on being as inclusive as possible, we have grown into a very solid organization and have put on some excellent shows in the past few years. I am very proud of our accomplishments and hope that people will support us by attending our performances and/or becoming involved with our shows.”
Dubczak has relished his time working with Carousel, and especially on Moon Over Buffalo. “It’s a challenge as an actor because, in this type of comedy, timing is everything, and practicing and perfecting that is a fun challenge as an actor. During rehearsal, I’ve caught myself many times coming off stage and having to ‘wind down’ because being in character for the scene was so exhilarating!”
That kind of intensity is intrinsic to a show such as Moon Over Buffalo, with timing and the outrageousness on display by the entire cast. It’s hard work, and everyone has to be in sync, no matter how crazy the scripted adventure might be.
“The approach to the material isn’t necessarily different for me than with other pieces of theatre, as far as discovering the character. But we do have to exaggerate our emotions and reactions, which is really fun.”
“I have never enjoyed a role more than this one. One of my greatest joys in life is seeing an audience truly delighted by a performance, and they will be laughing all night at this show.”
If you’re ready for a night of laughter and fun, Moon Over Buffalo is a great chance for exactly that. Performances for the Carousel Theatre of Indianola production will be March 8 through 11 at the First United Methodist Church in Indianola. Tickets are available at the door. And look! We’ve even got a video for you about the show, to introduce you to everyone! Enjoy!!
Photos courtesy of Michael Rolands/Record Herald. Video courtesy of David Dubczak/Carousel Theatre