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Truckee High performs dual Odd Couples

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunFlorence, played by senior Shelby Lewis, yells in despair as she stands in the doorway of Olive's messy apartment and surveys the cluttered dining room. Truckee High's all-female version of the "Odd Couple" opens Friday evening, while the all-male cast performs Saturday evening.
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The Truckee High School Drama Club will perform two versions of the hit 1965 Broadway play, “The Odd Couple” by Neil Simon, in a two-weekend run that opens Friday evening.

An all-female cast will perform an alternate version of the classic comedy about mis-matched roommates Friday night and Saturday afternoon, while an all-male cast will be featured in shows Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

The casts will perform four more shows the following weekend.



The female show recasts Felix as Florence, played by senior Shelby Lewis, who moves in with Olive, played by senior Shannon Estabrook.

The male cast’s main character Felix Unger, a neat-freak played by senior Jonathan Riley, moves in with a messy friend Oscar, played by senior Sean Mooney, when his marriage is ending.



Other characters in the play include Unger and Oscar’s friends: Vinnie, played by senior Shawn Conway; Murray, portrayed by senior Jared Kauffman; Speed, played by junior Danny Sturtevant; and Roy, performed by senior Gary Gunter.

Florence and Olive’s friends include: Vera, played by senior Kelsey Shaw; Renee, portrayed by junior Jessie Songer; Mickey, played by senior Katie Salpas; and Silvie, performed by junior Samantha Marsh.

Mike Nichols directed the original Broadway production, while the Gene Saks-directed film of the same name earned two Academy Award nominations.

Both Truckee High versions of the play are worth seeing, said director Jim Sturtevant.

“I highly recommend (seeing both plays) because there’s a lot of difference between the two casts,” Sturtevant said. “Both bring their own unique version of the play.”

As for directing two plays at the same time, Sturtevant said it was worth the extra effort.

“I wanted to make sure I gave both male and female students a chance to do this wonderful comedy.”

It was also a challenge for the students to learn comedic timing on stage Sturtevant said. The student-actors said working on the play was difficult but also fun.

“It’s been pretty stressful getting it all together,” said Lewis, who plays the lead role of Florence. “But it’s been a huge amount of fun and great to work with Jim. It’s really funny, lots of physical comedy and great lines.”

The cast said they enjoy playing their characters, who are all middle-aged New Yorkers.

“(Florence) is a total neurotic but means completely well,” Lewis said. “She annoys everyone with her eccentricities but everyone still loves her.”

Shawn Conway, who plays Vinnie, said he could really get into the role.

“I love (my character.) it’s the best part I’ve ever had,” Conway said. “I’ve been able to be so annoying and get away with it.”

As for Vera, the female version of Vinnie, senor Kelsey Shaw said picking up the accent was easy.

“I grew up with that accent,” Shaw said. “It’s based on my grandmother.”

As for the audience, the cast thinks the play will appeal to almost everyone.

“It appeals to all generations,” said Gary Gunter, who plays one of Unger’s friends, Roy. “There’s innuendoes but there’s also a lot of slapstick comedy.”


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