Big hair and big personalities are coming to the stage, as “The Odd Couple (Female Version)” opens at the Rose Firebay of the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center on Friday.
Produced by Monroe County Civic Theatre, “The Odd Couple (Female Version)” reverses the roles of the men and women from the original "The Odd Couple." It follows the friendship of two New York women, Olive and Florence, after one of them divorces her husband. Set in the '80s and following the style of the original play, TV shows and movies, the comedy aims to make people laugh out loud, IU junior and actor Emma Hamilton said.
“When you enter the Firebay at the Waldron, you step right into 1986,” Director James Torry said. “The two gentlemen actors look like they walked right off the set of 'Miami Vice.'”
The two female lead characters have conflicts over one's being unkempt and messy and the other's being clean and organized. Then, they go on a date with two neighbors from Barcelona who do not speak English fluently.
The comedy comes from the clashing of these different personalities, Torry said.
“Look forward to laughing hard enough to break your face because it’s hilarious,” Torry said.
His character inspiration came from watching theater troupes perform the play on YouTube, Torry said. However, character personalities came from what the actors brought to them.
“It was very open to interpretation in terms of movement and action,” Hamilton said. “A lot of the characters have different dynamics that the actors have brought to the table. Just a lot of artistic choice in that way.”
The show takes place in Olive's apartment. The small cast of eight characters has been working since August, and they have become better friends as a result, Hamilton said.
“One of the cast members is having a baby and invited everyone to a baby shower, so we’ve gotten close,” Hamilton said. “It makes it easy to make it a fun environment.”
Torry has acted since high school and has directed shows for the Bloomington Playwright’s Project Playoffs. “The Odd Couple (Female Version)” is his first full-length production as a director.
“You have an idea on day one of rehearsal, and then you get all your actors who have never worked together before, and you have a different idea every two weeks,” Torry said. “You have to be flexible to what the actors or what the situation calls for.”
Created in 1986, Monroe County Civic Theatre is an amateur, all-volunteer community theater company. According to its website, it is “devoted to providing opportunities for individuals to know the many challenges and rewards of creating live theater.”
Torry said he hopes this production inspires actors to continue acting.
“I want the audience to see what volunteer, community actors can do,” Torry said. “None of these actors are getting paid. We’re all doing this because we have a love for the art."
It is a funny show, and a good way to relax, Hamilton said.
“It’s a good opportunity if you’re stressed out or have a lot going on,” Hamilton said. “It’s a good way to take some time off and have a good laugh."
“The Odd Couple (Female Version)” runs from Sept. 15 to 17. Tickets start at $15.