The Richmond Community Theatre’s final production of this season is an American farce by Michael Parker and Susan Parker, “What is Susan’s Secret?” opening next Thursday. There will be several events surrounding this final production including a visit from the playwrights on May 18 and 19.
During the visit of Michael Parker and Susan Parker on May 18 at 7:30 p.m., Richmond Community Theatre Director Shelly Walker will interview the Parkers on stage before the performance of their play. The interview will include time for questions and answers between the audience and playwrights. Following the production, the Richmond Community Theatre will have a special reception, where audience members can talk directly with the playwrights.
In addition to May 18’s interview and reception, the Parkers will also teach an Acting in Comedies Workshop on May 19. Michael and Susan Parker are experts at writing comedy and have offered to teach actors some universal comedy techniques they’ve learned along the way, Walker said.
The workshop will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Rotary Lodge at Hinson Lake located at 152 Hinson Lake Road, Rockingham. All participants must expect to get up on their feet and act during the workshop. If you would like to participate, you must secure a spot by paying in advance during early box office or regular box office hours. The workshop will be $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and college students, and $10 for high school students who are 16 or older.
Michael and Susan Parker are internationally recognized playwrights, according to Walker. They have written three comedies together, and Michael has written an additional eight plays on his own. They are published by Samuel French, the largest play publishing company in the world. And their plays have been produced in 12 other countries around the world.
“What is Susan’s Secret?” performances will take place May 17, 18, 19, 20 and May 24, 25, 26 at the Richmond Community Theatre on Harrington Square, 109 E. Washington St., Rockingham. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. All tickets are $9. Early box office for season ticket holders, benefactors, patrons and sponsors will be held May 9, 10, 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. Regular box office hours for all patrons are May 14 - 25, Monday through Saturday 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. The box office can be reached at 910-997-3765.
“Everyone is sure to enjoy this situational comedy set at an inn,” said Walker.
The Cider Mill Inn is a rustic and somewhat run down country inn owned and operated by an elderly couple, Michael and Susan Edwards who appear to be bordering on senility. They are however very clever con artists, preying on unsuspecting guests by advertising huge discounts to various tradesmen. Using an elaborate check-in form, guests are in fact signing a work contract, requiring them to perform various improvements at the inn. Over the course of three weekends, plumbers, tile layers, carpenters and electricians are recruited to do work they never expected.
Actors working on the production include some veterans and some new ensemble members making their debut on the Richmond Community Theatre stage. They include: Jennifer Crump, Merrie Dawkins, Lou Ann Gibson, Anitra Ingram, Dean Jenks, Darla McGuire, Anjali Patel, Zachery Peele, Ann Pruitt, Angie Rush, Robert Watkins, and Wayne Webb. Behind the scenes, there have been several community members volunteering time to build the set and to work on lights and sound. They include: Austin Glock Andrews, Joey Bennett, Hannah Crouse, Jennifer Crump, Nikki Honeycutt, Brittany Hudson, Andrea Meneses, Christine Ni, Anjali Patel, Zachery Peele, and Ariel Schnell. Ann Pruitt is assistant director and stage manager. Austin Glock Andrews is running the sound board. T.J. Wallace is running the lighting board.
Finally on May 25, there will be a special presentation honoring the Richmond Senior High School senior students who have given countless community service hours to the theatre this season.
“The set of ‘What is Susan’s Secret?’ and ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ were both built largely by student participation,” said Walker. “Many tech and acting roles this season were filled by senior students as well. Come out and help Richmond Community Theatre honor these special students.”
If you have any questions about these events, call the theatre at 910-997-3765. Or email the director at email@example.com.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.