by Louella Moreland
Change of plans!!
DUE TO CAST ILLNESS, WE HAVE MOVED OPENING TO AUGUST 5TH.
WE ALSO ADDED AUGUST 27 & 28 – BOTH 2:00 MATINEES
The Curious Savage by John Patrick has been one of my favorite plays since I was a sophomore in high school. When Kings Players was searching for plays for the 2022 season, this little gem was chosen. and I was delighted to step up to direct it. Then I wondered what I got myself into because our stage is TINY and all eleven actors need to be on it in a rather chaotic scene toward the end! And there are lighting challenges for a small theater such as ours! Would we be able to find the actors, especially five men?! We are setting the show in 1950, when it was originally released. That added another layer of responsibility! Yes, I can say panic set in for a while. But, then a little whispering voice kept saying, “It’s too special. Find a way.”
Thankfully, there were many others who felt the same and stepped in to help. This has been one the most fun, delightful, enchanting show experiences in my over forty years of being involved in community theater.
Why is this show so special? I think it is because the dialogue resonates in your heart long after the show is over. Pieces of the show would float through my mind from time to time as my life experiences grew. The other important aspect is the humor that comes from the situations in which the characters are involved. While the story touches the soul, it is far from depressing or sad! As Dr. Emmett states in the show, “We encourage laughter here.” And there is a ton of that as well.
The plot follows the story of Mrs. Savage as her adult step-children bring her to The Cloisters for psychiatric evaluation. She has exhibited some rather unorthodox behavior for a woman her age, wishing to set up a trust fund to grant other common people the foolish wishes of their hearts. But is that the real reason the Savage children have taken this step, or is it that they desperately want control of the Savage fortune? While determined to find a way to gain control of her life again, Mrs. Savage finds herself becoming truly fond of the staff and patients at facility where she has been locked up. The “guests” (as they are referred to) are quirky, gentle, but most of all – kind. Though their view of the world may not be quite what we would refer to as “normal,” the wise nuggets of advise they give Mrs. Savage builds her confidence to believe in herself once again.
I believe the overall message of the show is about change or the hope of change – even for the Savage children. Can the residents learn to see the truth in order to deal with their problems and embrace the outside world? Can the Savage children realize that the wealth and privilege to which they were born does not make them superior, entitled people?
The Curious Savage opens July 30 at the Temple Theatre in Hanford and is produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc. The lead role of Mrs. Savage is portrayed by RaeLynn Royer. Mike Betcher, Joseph Katz, and Sunshine Weihert are the step-children (Titus, Samuel, and Lily Belle Savage). The Cloister “guests” include Pepper Jay as Hannibal (the tone deaf mathematician), Asher Jay as Fairy May (the young girl who seeks a place in someone’s heart), Zeke Andre as Jeffrey (the war hero), Cyndie Maxwell as Florence (a woman who suffered a great loss), and Dana Shriver as Mrs. Paddy (who will not communicate). Rounding out the cast as the staff are Rebecca Jensen playing the nurse, Miss Willie, and Jared Kirk as Dr. Emmett. Annie McGrath is assistant director and Leo Shen appears as the young John Thomas.
You can learn more and purchase tickets on their website.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.