The MSUM theater department left its audience in stitches with “Leading Ladies” last week.
The play, written by Ken Ludwig, is based on the lives of Leo Clark, played by Ivan Olson, and Jack Gable, played by Matthew Englund, two English Shakespearian stage actors who found themselves down on their luck.
In one final attempt to get back on their feet, they follow a newspaper advertisement by an old, dying lady in York, Penn., in search of her nephews, to whom she wants to leave her large fortune. But when they arrive, they find out that Max and Steve aren’t nephews, but nieces, Maxine and Stephanie.
Most of the actors in the performance have been in MSUM shows before, but this one was a change from what they were used to.
“This is the most demanding role I’ve ever had and the costume changes and the switching of characters make it a wonderful challenge for the actor,” Olson said.
Englund said that learning a new accent was most difficult.
“We had to do dialect work and we did RP, or the Received Pronunciation. It’s British, and I had never done a British accent,” he said. “It took a lot of work.”
While this production included several veteran actors, it also brought in some new faces.
Katie Kendrick, a freshman theater major and the play’s stage manager, said it was great to see the play come together after so much work.
“It’s cool to see how (the production) blooms,” she said.
The hard work, by crew and cast alike, appeared to pay off as audience members rarely went without laughing and applauding at the antics on stage.
“There were a lot of hidden messages in the script that wouldn’t have been funny unless the actors knew what the meaning behind them was,” said Seth Rausch, a freshman in the audience. “It was an amazing experience to share with the actors.”
The theater department returns to the stage April 18 – 21 with Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters.”
BY MELYNDA HEYING