Drama department’s “big comedy of misunderstanding” to open on Nov. 10

“Rumors,” the 1988 Broadway farce by Neil Simon, is coming to Del Mar College’s Sue Sellors-Finley Theatre on Heritage Campus.

“Rumors” is a form of comedy known as a farce, centering around the exaggerated and the absurd. The story follows Ken and Chris Gorman, a couple who have been invited to the 10th anniversary party of New York City’s Deputy Mayor, Charlie Brock, and his wife Myra. From the moment they arrive, they are forced to navigate a growing cast of characters, a missing person, and a scandalous cover up.

“It’s a big comedy of misunderstanding,” said Samuel Howarth, who plays the 50-something psychiatrist Ernie Cusak in the production.

For all the student performers involved, this is hardly their first rodeo, but this play brings news experiences for even the most experienced members of the cast.

For Howarth, “Rumors” is his third production as part of the Del Mar College Drama Department and his fourth overall. Yet, this play brings a unique challenge that none of those before offered: “Rumors” runs almost continuously from start to finish.

“This one is unique compared to all the other shows I’ve done, because each of the other shows take place in a variety of locations and venues across a large swath of time,” Howarth said. “There are 2 scenes in this show, essentially. Very long scenes, the acts. They take place in the exact same place, only minutes apart from one another.”

This offers a unique challenge for the cast, as the script offers few if any hard breaks in the action, but Howarth manages to find his way by navigating “landmarks” in the script.

“You have to divvy up the show into scenes as you would recognize them. Like, oh this is the scene where they talk about all the bathrooms being locked, or this is the scene where they talk about the mess happening in the kitchen.”

For Eddie Alejandre, who plays the anxiety-ridden Lenny Ganz, the production introduced the experienced actor to a new and unique genre.

Alejandre has taken part in over 15 productions, with “Rumors” being his fifth with the Drama Department. This is his first production in the form of a farce.

“I’ve never done a farce. There’s a lot of door slamming, people coming in and out, screaming,” Alejandre said.

According to Alejandre, the cast must maintain a “chain of sound” throughout the entire production.

“We can’t break it. So, this chain’s always going,” Alejandre said. “In the other shows, we were able to take pauses in between our lines; take a breather or say our lines as slow as we want, but this is just quick pace, all the time.”

The play is rated PG-13 due to strong language and is open to the public. Students will receive free admission on Student Appreciation Night, which is Nov. 16.

The production is set to open Nov. 10 and will run through Nov. 18. Tickets for the production are available here.

For more information about the production and the department, visit the Drama department’s page here.

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