Taylor and Carter produce two versions of The Odd Couple

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Photo by Maria Martin

Written by Brenna Bochenek, Production Editor

The long rehearsal hours and extreme amount of dedication that go into a single Corona production help make school plays a great source of entertainment. For their second production of the year, play directors Nick Taylor and Chris Carter tackled the challenge of producing two different versions of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. One version was performed by a cast of mostly males while the other featured more prominent female roles.

“We wanted an opportunity to provide roles for both our male and female students, and this is probably the most famous American comedy of all time,” director Nick Taylor said.

Both versions of the play contain the same basic plot: a man or woman finds out that his or her spouse wants a divorce, so he or she moves in with his or her best friend. The divorcee is a neat freak, while the best friend is a complete slob, which causes tension between them.

“The newly divorced person is super sad and the other (person) just makes fun of them the whole time,” senior Jade Fielding who played Vera in the female version said. “You get to see how they grow and it’s funny and sad. I love it.”

The two feuding personalities create amusing confrontations between the two divorcees. At one point, Felix, played by junior Chase Wagner, shatters a glass against a wall out of frustration.

“I think the best part is all the chaos that happens in the play, “ Wagner said. “I literally destroyed half the stage the first time we did it.”

With two plays, the shows required two directors, four performance days, and twice the number of actors.

“The more people you have, more people can get sidetracked, or someone throws out a funny joke and gets off track,” Taylor said. “It is much more difficult to keep all the teenagers on task when you have twice as many teenagers.”

The male version of The Odd Couple was written in the 1960s with a cast that featured mostly male actors, because at the time, women did not get large roles.

“Their roles were always two-dimensional characters like the love interest or the waitress or the secretary and they never really got good roles,” Taylor said. “He (Simon) had a responsibility to change that.”

In the 1980s, due to many complaints from women, Simon re-wrote the play. His new version gave women greater roles in theater.

“This play is built toward that and really what I hope that they (the audience) can see is that men and women can both be funny and creative and talented,” Taylor said.

Both the male and female versions were given two nights each to perform their renditions of the play. The male version was led by Wagner and Senior Jeff Sayki. The duo had hilarious chemistry onstage, which amused the audience throughout the entire show. Wagner and Sayki also blended body language with skilled comedic timing during their funny argument scene to bid their opposite and overdramatic characters to life.

The female version brought a more modern vibe to The Odd Couple. Since the play was set in the 1980s it uses humor that is more modern, and even a little edgy. This gave the female version a completely different vibe than the classic male version. Although both plays had their own sense of humor, it was a bit more difficult to understand the actors in the male version than the female version. Both versions involved a lot of yelling and screaming, but the actresses in the female version were more difficult to understand because their voices are higher pitched. The female version also featured two men with heavy Spanish accents which were hard to understand if you do not take Spanish class.

It was a great idea to perform two versions of The Odd Couple. The different styles of humor made each play stand out individually and did not bore the audience. After all of their performances The Odd Couple left the audience in anticipation of what could possibly follow these classic performances.