Saturday, October 20, 2018

Local Entertainment

CVTG’s ‘Out of Order’ draws comedy from utter insanity

Ray Cooney's farce shows what happens when a lie spins out of control

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    Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild actors, from left, Jake Pritchard as Richard Willey, Keith Lorasch as The Body, Tim Carter as George Pigden and Ali McMahon as Jane Worthington pose during rehearsals Tuesday for the upcoming production “The Odd Couple,” which opens at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at The Grand Theatre.

    Staff photo by Katy Macek
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    Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild actors, from left, Jake Pritchard as Richard Willey, Keith Lorasch as The Body, Tim Carter as George Pigden and Ali McMahon as Jane Worthington pose during rehearsals Tuesday for “Out of Order.”

    Staff photo by Katy Macek
    Buy This Image

Local actor Sam Williams is willing to bet everyone knows what it feels like to get caught in a lie. 

He’s not so sure everyone would stretch that lie like government official Richard Willey in the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s production of the comedy “Out of Order.” 

“All of us have been confronted on those lies and there’s a choice, ‘do I come clean or double down?’ That’s really what this show is built on,” Williams, who plays Ronnie Worthington, said. “One lie spirals out of control over the course of an hour.”

 “Out of Order” runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, Feb. 8 to 17, and 1:30 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 11 and 18. Tickets are $23 for adults and seniors and $10 for youth and military.

The show is about a government official who plans to spend an evening with one of the opposition’s secretaries. From there, things take a hilariously disastrous turn. 

Josh Dolan-Neill, who plays The Waiter, described the genre as a farce, meaning it is completely ludicrous and also involves adult humor.

“It’s definitely one of those scripts where the playwright was like, ‘well how far can I take this?’ “ Dolan-Neill said. “And then he takes it a little bit further than that.” 

Ali McMahon, who plays Jane Worthington, added: “And now we’re allowing ourselves to take it further. We open in less than two weeks and every day we’re still adding bits.” 

She enjoys watching her co-stars play off one another and develop into their own characters, adding more humor and bits with each rehearsal. 

To be clear, director Bob Carr said they stick to the show’s original script, but “the hijinks are ours.” 

What those hijinks are is difficult to explain without giving away the show, but Jake Pritchard, who plays Willey, said they are quite elaborate. 

“There are a lot of physical bits, and very intensive bits — no just slipping on a banana peel,” Pritchard said. “You’ve gotta really commit or else it’s not going to work.” 

Commitment radiates off these actors as much as comfort does. Which isn’t a surprise, as Pritchard said the main reason he wanted to do this show was because he knew a majority of the actors involved, and many had worked with one another before. 

That level of comfort is important for a show, especially one that is over-the-top funny, said Keith Lorasch, who plays The Body. 

While it may seem silly to the audience, for the actors Lorasch said it is about finding a balance and trusting each other to do the same. He thinks that’s what makes this cast so talented.

“It’s actors that can handle farce and handle it very well as far as the language and physicality that’s involved in it,” Lorasch said. “We are sticking to the script, but the actors are skilled enough they’re able to milk that script for everything it’s worth.”  

Carr said the comfort that comes with familiarity has also led to the actors being willing to go just a little bit further out on each limb.

“They think each other’s funny, which gives them the freedom to experiment,” he said. “Some of the ridiculous things they’ve created they did in a safe environment where they knew if it didn’t work they’d go on to something else, which is quite a luxury in most shows.” 

Carr, who is a co-founder of CVTG and has worked on many productions in his time, said rehearsals are always his favorite part. 

He enjoys challenging his actors and watching them work the challenges out in their own way. 

“I give them ideas and they start it and then they’ll totally reinvent something based on what I gave them,” he said. “Then what I gave them completely disappears, but it inspired something in them.” 

The freedom to take things as far as they want and then some is his favorite thing about the show, Tim Carter, who plays Willey’s assistant George Pigden, said. 

During rehearsals he’ll find himself asking Carr if he’s doing too much, but said Carr always tells him to go with it.

“I like that you can’t go over the top in this,” Carter said. “You can push it as far as your imagination will let you and it’ll still work because the framework is just about having fun and being silly.”

Silliness aside, Pritchard thinks audience members will still be able to relate to the show. 

“Out of Order” is based, at its simplest, on a lie spun out of control, which he thinks just about anyone can relate to. 

“There’s a lot of places that we go that people have probably been in before,” Pritchard said. “I think everyone’s been caught in a lie and has felt that ‘oh no’ moment and had to come up with something else.” 

He also doubts anyone has taken a lie quite so far as this show does, and for that, he thinks people will be grateful. 

“It’ll make you feel infinitely better about you and your own relationships,” he added with a laugh. 

Whatever it makes you feel, “Out of Order” is sure to make audience members laugh. 

It is not a play suitable for children, but for a mature adult audience Carr personally guarantees a “full night of laughter until you almost pee your pants.”

Contact reporter: 715-833-9214,, @KatherineMacek on Twitter


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