The Town Players of New Canaan present 'Love, Sex and the I.R.S."™
Published 1:27 pm, Wednesday, February 16, 2011
"Escape from preparing your income taxes -- or come to laugh for no reason at all," Patrick Kiley, producer of the Town Players' winter show, said. The play is fueled by the hilarious and ridiculous complications that arise from a scheme to pay lower taxes. Performances will take place at the Powerhouse Theatre, Waveny Park, New Canaan on Feb. 25, 26 and March 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees on Feb. 27 and March 6 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. To reserve seats, call 203-966-7371 or visit email@example.com.
A rollicking farce, Love, Sex and the I.R.S. is filled with very funny dialogue, fast paced, comic action and sight gags. Jon Trachtman and Leslie Arthur are out of work musicians who room together in New York City. To save money, Jon has been filing tax returns listing them as married, taking advantage of the spelling of Leslie's name to make him appear as a woman. The day of reckoning comes when I.R.S. agent Floyd Spinner arrives at the door to investigate the "couple." Leslie masquerades as a housewife, aided by Jon's fiancée, Kate. Complicating matters, Leslie and Kate have fallen in love behind Jon's back, Jon's mother flies in unexpectedly to meet her son's fiancée, and Leslie's slighted girlfriend shows up demanding to know why Leslie has changed and won't see her anymore. In a light hearted dénouement, all ends well.
"It's fun to poke fun at the I.R.S. and the system," Director Chris Peterson of Hamden said. "Love, Sex and the I.R.S. is a lively show, keeps moving and I've never felt happier about a cast."
Appearing as I.R.S agent Floyd Spinner will be Bob Filipowich of Fairfield, who, as Buddy, performed the show stopping solo "The Right Girl" in "Follies" and dropped red herrings galore as the jealous man about town Bobby in "Postmortem." Filipowich and playwright VanZandt both loved watching "I Love Lucy" throughout their childhoods, and the TV show, they each believe, nourished their comic sensibilities. Also an aficionado of "The Carol Burnett Show" and "My Little Margie," Filipowich tries to tap into those resources to bring out the humanity and comedy of Spinner, who "obviously is not having fun at home and is not a well liked person because an I.R.S. agent is a natural enemy of the people. Thanks to a little bit of alcohol and being part of the musicians' antics, he releases bottled up aggressions."
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Fredda Takacs of Trumbull never knew she had comic timing until she played Matron Queenie Malone in "Broadway Melody Hours" at Johnny Ray's Dinner Theatre in Milford. Audiences laughed uproariously and Takacs discovered "It's so wonderful to see people enjoy themselves." She is realizing how much energy Vivian (Jon's mother) brings to the play as she creates hysterics and makes things so much worse.
Townsend Ambrecht of New Canaan and NYC and Ryan Hendrickson of Stamford will appear as roommates Jon and Leslie. Ambrecht studies acting at the Terry Schreiber Studio in Chelsea, loves the play's physicality and energy and is gaining appreciation of the many levels of characterization comedy performance requires. Hendrickson majored in math and physics at MIT and has performed with a handful of community theatres over the past two years.
"I don't think of myself as someone who has comic timing. Comic timing is so subtle, dealing with patterns, the expected and the unexpected, absurdity, and so many subtle things if the audience is open to it," he said. Timing is something he works on. "Exploring more ways and opportunities can be hit or miss, trying things that are funny." He loves the comic role of Leslie: "It's the same guy, whether a man or woman. I just keep the rhythm, and go with the energy and the laughter."
Leslie's erstwhile girlfriend Connie "definitely gets to make a flash. She comes in Act III like a battering ram, with machine gun dialogue and is fun to do," said Rochelle Woodson of Derby, seen on the Powerhouse stage as Prince Valiant in "Snow White" and in November's "Stage II."
A busy actor, writer, designer and director, Kevin McNair of Stratford believes that theatre does three things for an actor and a member of the audience: teaches a lesson; bewitches one into believing he or she is in the world the play is in; and transforms so that whether on stage or watching, one experiences personal growth and development.
"[Mr. Jansen, the beer-bellied drunk landlord, whom he plays] His absurdity is lovely. He is the idealization of a person who doesn't give a damn about anything," he said. On the other hand, McNair cares deeply about many contemporary issues, see his blog TrueActing on YouTube.
Michael Hodges of New Canaan has studied acting and directing both at Norwalk Community College and Franciscan University. He will play Arnold Grunion, a shady justice of the peace, picked up on the subway by Vivian. Hodges first discovered comedy is sfun when he appeared as Hamlet in a slapstick show titled "The Shakespeare Project."
"Farce sharpens skills," Marta Coppola of Stamford said. "You have to remain present in the moment." The challenge of comedy, "is how to balance depth and lightness," and as Kate, it's something she has to attempt as she tries to stay in control managing two guys, her boyfriend and his roommate, while all she wants to do is go crazy.
Coppola's answer: "Keep it loose and tight." She loves the pace of Love, Sex and the I.R.S., but more its accessibility. "You don't have to be a student of farce. Anyone who walks through the Powerhouse door will laugh at this show."