May - June 2002
By Neil Simon, Directed by Stan Finley
Assistant Director Margaret Tingwall
Christine Vanairsdale: (Miss
Sherry Hulscher: (Karen Nash) Doug Simons: (Sam
Sherry Hulscher, Doug Simons, Tom Kuester: (Waiter)
Todd Gordon: (Bellhop)
Sherry Hulscher, Tom Kuester
Christa Rogers: (Muriel Tate)
Christa Rogers, Tim Shute
Jonathan Ristow: (Bordon Eisler)
Darlene Vaamen: (Norma Hubley) Michael
Bennett: (Roy Hubley)
Darlene Vaamen, Michael Bennett
Darlene Vaamen, Michael Bennett
Darlene Vaamen, Michael Bennett, Sara Finley:
- Pictures by
- Jones Photo Co.
From The South Beach Bulletin Thursday, May 16, 2002
Driftwood Players offer Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite"
- The way I see things, life is both sad and
funny. I Can't imagine a comical situation that isn't at the same time
also painful. I used to ask myself: What is a humorous situation? Now I
ask: What is a sad situation and how can I tell it humorously?"
- Neil Simon
By Barb Aue
With that credo in mind, America's most successful
playwright (Why isn't that word playwrite?) sat down and penned three vignettes
set in Suite 719 of the world famous Plaza Hotel in New York City. The resulting
play will not only make you laugh, it will bring a tear to your eye.
Local theatre goers have the great good luck of an
opportunity to see a fine production of Plaza Suite currently at
Aberdeen's Driftwood Playhouse. This production marks the directorial debut of
longtime Driftwood player Stan Finley. Last Saturday's opening night found a
nearly full house that ranged in age from early twenties to late seventies.
Regardless of age, audience members responded positively to a good performance
by both principals and supporting cast in a wonderful set created by Ernie
Act One features Sherry Hulscher and Doug Simons as a
too-long married couple about to face the consequences of an office affair.
Act Two pairs Tim Shute and Christa Rogers as former high
school sweethearts meeting 17 years later. Rogers steals the show as the
ingenuously star-struck Tenafly housewife who gives the term 'ditzy blond' a new
lease on life. Shute, now a big shot producer, plays off her personality very
well and holds his own throughout the piece.
Act Three finds mother and father of the bride, Darlene
Vaamen and Michael Bennett, working to convince their daughter to come out of a
locked bathroom on her wedding day. Vaamen is a natural in this part and lights
up the stage well beyond the glitter of the rhinestones studding her hot pink
They say you can't go wrong with a Neil Simon play but
credit where credit's due -- Without the strong performances offered in this
production, it wouldn't be nearly as funny -- nor quite as sad...
Remaining play dates are: May 17, 18, 24, 25, June 1, and
2. The theatre doors open at 7:15 p.m. with the curtain going up at 8:15 p.m.
Sunday matinees start at 2:15 p.m. Ticket outlets include City Drug and Top Food
and Drug in Aberdeen, Captain's Cove in the Southshore Mall, Harbor Drug in
Hoquiam, Valu-Drug in Montesano, and Our Place in Ocean Shores.
From The Daily World, Thursday, May 16, 2002
- By Jeff Burlingame
- Daily World Writer
wasn't exactly the play Stan Finley wanted for his directorial debut, but he
says Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite" checks out just fine.
chose 'Private Lives' (a play centering around divorcees honeymooning in the
same hotel with their new spouses) but it's being shown in London and we
couldn't get the rights released to us," Finley says. "So I read the script
(to 'Plaza Suite') and I really liked it."
play, now showing at the Driftwood Theater off Broadway in Aberdeen, was
suggested to Finley by his assistant director, Margaret Tingwall. It's a
collection of three playlets, spliced together with a common theme of love
turned out terrifically, which was my hope," says Finley, a special
education teacher at Ocean Shores Elementary School. "And itıs come true."
three acts take place in the same upscale New York City hotel room. In the
first act, a husband (Doug Simons) and wife (Sherry Hulscher) come to terms
with a failing marriage.
a veteran of several Driftwood comedies, plays more of a serious role in
is definitely a different role for him," Finley says.
and Hulscher press on well through a draining act full of cynical humor and
nuance. Hulscher plays the not-so-helpless housewife who won't make it easy
for her husband to admit he's having an affair. Simons counters deftly as
the middle-age-crisis husband who won't admit the infidelity until the
Hulscher takes advantage of her character's cynical sting to reveal that she
is not as clueless as she seems, and she presses Simons' character to come
to terms with who he is before she lets him off the hook.
1971 film version of "Plaza Suite," Walter Matthau was the male lead in all
three vignettes. That's the same way the play was staged on Broadway, though
Finley chose to cast three separate leading men for his adaptation.
Shute plays the lead in the second act -- about a Hollywood producer who
invites his high school sweetheart (Christa Rogers) to meet him at his hotel
perfectly plays up the part of a dingy soccer mom who pines after the kind
of exciting life Shute's character leads.
provides the perfect foil to Rogers' sweet, hometown girl, downplaying his
character's lavish life just enough to keep her tantalized.
the actors change with each vignette, the set is basically the same for the
entire two-hour play. "It turned out quite beautiful," Finley notes of the
elaborate set, one of Driftwood's most realistic ever. "We spent three
weekends moving furniture to find the right (combination)."
third act is about a daughter (Sara Finley, Stan's real-life daughter) who
locks herself in the bathroom on her wedding day and won't come out, to the
chagrin of her parents (Michael Bennett and Darlene Vammen).
will stop at nothing to see his daughter get married, especially considering
the money he is putting out for the ceremony. The tension between the two
actors creates a perfect environment for the comedy of errors they go
through to get their daughter to the altar.
Finley, who's been involved with Driftwood -- mostly behind the scenes --
for several years, says the show is always evolving.
(the public) likes to see a show more than once, this will be a different
show every night," the director says. "There's an intimacy of live theater
that you don't get from staring at a stationary TV screen."
show runs at 8:15 p.m., May 17, 18, 24, 25, 31, and June 1. There will be a
2:15 p.m. matinee on Sunday, June 2.
Tickets are $8 and available at City Drug, Top Foods, and Captain's Cove in
Aberdeen, Harbor Drug in Hoquiam, Valu-Drug in Montesano and Our Place in
Driftwood Players Inc.
Webmaster Larry Tingwall