For the Daily News
A farce, by definition, is a broadly humorous play, often based on exploitation of improbable or ludicrous situations or actions.
According to director Thomas La Foe, that pretty much sums up Starkville Community Theatre’s 33rd season opener, “Unnecessary Farce.”
Written by Paul Slade Smith, “Unnecessary Farce” opens Thursday and runs through Sept. 18. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. daily except for a matinee on Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. All performances are at SCT’s Playhouse on Main.
“’Unnecessary Farce’ takes place in two adjoining motel rooms and centers around a police investigation into the local mayor’s shady financial dealings,” La Foe said.
“While that seems unnecessarily boring, the inept police, the half-naked accountant, the mayor’s jittery security officer, an unintelligible hit man, the mayor’s roaming wife, and eight doors bring the necessary comedy to this farce. A lot happens in these two tiny rooms,” he added.
The laugh-out-loud comedy features seven SCT favorites, including Heather Box of Mathiston, M.J. Etua, Kris Lee, Paul Ruff, Gabe Smith, Abigail Voller and Christopher Walrath, all of Starkville.
Ruff plays Agent Frank, a security guard of questionable ability.
“My favorite aspect of this character is that he is totally aware of his inadequacies, yet he still strives to overcome them. And I get to carry a gun,” the local pediatrician said.
Live theatre is not something everyone is familiar with, but Starkville Community Theatre has been providing live entertainment here for 33 seasons. Still, if you have never attended a live performance, La Foe believes this show is a great one to start with.
“The energy this cast puts off when performing this show is incredible,” La Foe said. “Getting to see a show like this done live can fill you with a tremendous amount of respect for stage actors. They do not get the advantage of editing things out after production. They have to handle whatever comes their way at any moment and bring the audience with them as they go. It is really something to see.”
New SCT president Alison Stamps also thinks local residents should take advantage of the quality entertainment produced at the Playhouse on Main.
“SCT provides great entertainment for the Golden Triangle area,” Stamps said. “Audience members will not be disappointed in the quality of talent that we have on our stage. Our community is full of talent, and we love to showcase it at SCT.”
La Foe thinks one of the reasons this show will deliver is his talented cast.
“Watching the cast handle this set and this script is amazing,” La Foe said. “They are all exceptionally talented actors and have turned out to be pretty good stunt people too! The great thing about watching a farce, and this farce in particular, is that you never know exactly what is going to happen next, but you know it is going to be funny.”
The director said he is also always amazed when he sees a show coming together, that the cast is doing all this work in their spare time — around their full-time jobs, school, families, and more.
“All of us at SCT are volunteers, and I am sure many of the cast and crew member are wondering just what they were thinking when they volunteered for this production,” La Foe said. “They each hold very different jobs but all share the same interest in theatre.
“And they are not just actors. These individuals have also worked in almost every theatre position there is when it comes to shows,” he added. “They do a lot of work for SCT,and I hope that the audiences appreciate the work they have put into this production.”
The director did caution that show contains language or situations that some might find offensive.
“The play does involve some adult situations and contain some adult language,” La Foe said. “It’s nothing too racy, but probably too much for children under 13. We want everyone who comes to the theatre to enjoy the experience, so if you have questions about the content, please contact the box office and let us try and answers those questions.”
One thing the cast and crew are certain of is that the audience will laugh.
“I don’t see how audiences could not laugh at this show,” La Foe said. “The situations the characters find themselves in are hilariously awkward, and watching them try to talk, or run, their way out of them is priceless.”
Cast member Heather Box, who plays Officer Billie Dwyer, agrees.
“If you want a night of entertainment that will keep you on the edge of your seat with people running in and out of rooms, taking off their clothes, mis-communicating and mixing things up in a fast[-paced-ride, don’t miss this new SCT production of ‘Unnecessary Farce,’” Box said.
Ruff adds one word of advice — come prepared to laugh.
“Come prepared to laugh hard and often. Some of the jokes are corny and contrived, but it’s just so much fun,” Ruff said. “The cast is all crazy with excitement about this season’s opener — and you’re crazy, too, if you miss it!!”