By Dee Fisher
By Dee Fisher

The old set's put away, the new one is being constructed, and rehearsals are underway for the next production slated to open soon at Van Wert Civic Theatre: Weekend Comedy. Director Doug Grooms shared the cast list with me. It takes up a whole lot less space than the cast for Big River did!

Frank............Larry Keltner

Peggy...........Jewell Kurtz

Tony.........Chris Burkheimer

Jill.................Angi Robbins Lane

The latter two characters (Tony and Jill) are the younger, more relaxed couple spending the weekend at the cabin, while Frank and Peggy are the more mature couple, at least in years. Actually, both couples learn from each other in the course of the play. Tony and Jill learn about the importance of commitment and steadiness in a relationship, and Frank and Peggy learn how to be more open and spontaneous in expressing their feelings for each other. Sounds all feel-good and Dr. Phil-like, doesn't it? Well, the fun of this play is not in what the characters learn but in how they learn it. One hilarious situation and comment follows another, until the audience is on the floor with laughter!

Sam Bobrick, who wrote the play, is no stranger to laughter. He wrote for such memorable and diverse television comedies as The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched, The Flintstones, Get Smart, and The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour. He was the creator of the hit NBC series Saved By the Bell. Over the years he wrote and co-wrote many successful Broadway plays, including Murder at the Howard Johnsons; Norman, Is That You?; and Wally's Cafe.

Here's Sam Bobrick on playwriting: "Of all the writing I've ever done, I love playwriting best for a number of reasons. It's small, it's intimate, and it's personal. It's you, the paper, your head, and no one else. You are writing for yourself, your vision, your passion, and you are the only one you have to please. If in the process you want to veer to the right, you veer to the right. If you want to make a sudden u-turn, that's okay too. Jump a curb if you want. It is totally your call, your ballgame. Ahh...freedom, something you very seldom get writing for television or the movies."

And he should know.

This play is another great example of entertainment from the pen of a veteran writer, and VWCT has cast some great vets of the local stage to bring Mr. Bobrick's words to life. Weekend Comedy will open on March 14 and run through the final matinee on March 24. The box office will open for patrons and season ticket holders on March 4 (right around the corner!) and for the general public on March 11. If you're not a patron or a season ticket holder, why aren't you? It's a great deal, and you're supporting one of the best community theatres in Ohio! Give some serious consideration to raising your support of VWCT one more level next season. Speaking of supporting VWCT, if you went to see Big River, you heard the news that the theatre is seeking to purchase the property directly to the north of the theatre. In fact, negotiations are currently going on for that move. The theatre is looking to raise a substantial amount of money to do this, and any and all donations will be accepted. Although final plans have not been made, the board is looking to use the property for a possible costume shop, office space, and (amen and hallelujah!) even possible parking space. I'm sure more information will be forthcoming concerning the fundraising for the project, so stay tuned here and at the "curtain talk" before each performance for updates.

See you at the show!