February 10, 2004
Sit-com "Cocktails With Mimi" spring play at Cowley
There's a love affair, a 1970s-era cocktail party, witty exchanges and multiple mistaken identities. The result? Laughter that will leave the audience breathless in "Cocktails With Mimi," the spring play at Cowley County Community College.
Students in Cowley's Act One drama club will present the comedy at 7:30 p.m. March 4, 5, and 6 in the Robert Brown Theatre inside the Brown Center on the main campus in Arkansas City.
Tickets are $7 per person and may be purchased from the Cowley Box Office inside the east doors of the Brown Center between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. beginning Feb. 16. A dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m. March 5 and 6 in the Earle N. Wright Community Room. Tickets for the dinner and show are $15 per person. Deadline for dinner reservations is 4 p.m. Feb. 27.
Mimi Ralston, played by Meghann Parman of Arkansas City, is a wealthy and much-married divorcée who is giving a party in honor of the reputedly formidable parents of her daughter's fiancé. Typically, she engages a stunt "waiter" to insult her guests and, specifically, to spill soup on the stuffed-shirt Calthorpes (Leland played by Derrick Fagg of Arkansas City, and Eudorra, played by Hillary Gaston of Belle Plaine).
But her daughter, Edie, played by Anne Brown of Udall, fearing that her mother would never be able to stomach her future in-laws, has hired two bad actors to impersonate them--which works fine until the real Calthorpes arrive on the scene with their son (Lester, played by Mark Gubichuk of Arkansas City).
Thereafter the mistaken identities (and the fun) proliferate, until all is in a state of hilarious confusion. Fortunately, things are eventually set straight, as is Edie, who learns some lessons in love and life, which spare her from, what could have been, a most unhappy fate.
Debbie Layton, Cowley's theatre director, said "Cocktails With Mimi" was a comedy almost farcical in nature.
"There is so much mistaken identity, switching of roles and physical comedy that it is really whimsical," Layton said. "It's only two acts long, so it will really move."
Layton said some of the scenes would remind the audience of "Three's Company," the 1970s situation comedy filled with miscommunication and preconceived notions.
"There's a lot of dramatic irony that the audience will know ahead of time, where the actors on stage don't know," Layton said.
Layton said the style of the show demanded versatile actors.
"They had to have great range," she said. "They have to go from one character to another and be able to pull off the physical humor.
"I was looking for actors who were willing to have fun. This show is hard to do if you have a high stress level and personality conflicts. The audience needs to see the actors having fun on stage."
Scott MacLaughlin, Cowley's director of technical theatre, is in charge of set design for the play. He praised the students who were building the 16-foot tall walls depicting the inside of a mansion.
"This is one of the larger sets we've taken on," MacLaughlin said. "I've got a great crew of students and some awesome workers pulling their weight."
Although the play first was produced in 1973, MacLaughlin said the set would contain modern props.
"The set is fairly simple, and it should be very pleasing to the eye," he said.
Layton said she was excited for the audience.
"Comedy is the hardest genre," she said. "When to laugh on stage is the hardest to pull off. This script is really wide open for that. It's going to be a huge crowd-pleaser."
Layton compared "Cocktails With Mimi" to past Cowley plays "Noises Off" and "Rumors."
"It's very different from what we've done the last several years," she said. "The audience is going to be short of breath when they leave because they've laughed so much."
- Paul Hanson (Nathan Markley of Wellington).
- Mimi Ralston (Meghann Parman of Arkansas City).
- Edith "Edie" Ralston (Anne Brown of Udall).
- Lucy "Lu" White (Josi Jones of Winfield).
- Burt Evans (Blake Chamberlain of Conway Springs).
- Mrs. Carlton "Dody" DeVries (Elizabeth Woods of Wichita).
- Mrs. Clyde "Jane" Elliot (Whitney Smith of Mulvane).
- Clyde Elliot (Chad Wyckoff of Arkansas City).
- Leland "Judge" Calthorpe (Derrick Fagg of Arkansas City).
- Eudorra Calthorpe (Hillary Gaston of Belle Plaine).
- Lester "Les" Calthorpe (Mark Gubichuk of Arkansas City).
- Waiter (Jonathan Paxson of Argonia).
- Waitress (Crystal Seal of Douglass).