Special to the Banner
The Ocoee Theatre Guild, a local nonprofit theater group, presented a highly successful, crowd-pleasing performance in its inaugural production of “Sirens” at the Venue Creekside in Cleveland. Many theatergoers agree everyone involved should take a bow.
“We’re so elated at the success of our show,” said Candy Tapper, president and founder of the nonprofit Guild. Performances over the two-weekend run were well attended and acclaimed by their audiences for their professionalism and talent.
“Our goal from the outset was to bring professional-quality, live theater to the community,” Tapper explained, “and we achieved that with the support of our volunteers, generous sponsors, and patronage of local residents.
“We can’t thank enough the many volunteers that made this production a huge success, starting with our talented and experienced director, Dan Buck, an assistant professor of drama at Lee University, our actors, box office personnel, stage crew, stage managers, audiovisual technicians, graphic designers, and The Venue Creekside for its support and commitment to the goals of our theater company.”
“Sirens” is an award-winning play by Deb Zoe Lauffer, a wise and witty romantic, fantasy comedy about a middle-aged couple planning their 25th wedding anniversary on a cruise around the Greek islands. Husband Sam Abrams, played by James Williams, is a one-hit songwriter, searching for his inspiration to compose a new song.
Sam’s wife, Rose, played by Carole Hicks, is ready to enjoy life and leave behind her knitting shop. She discovers some truths about themselves, not the least of which is Sam’s secret life on Facebook. The play is touching, amusing, contemporaneous, and filled with comedic moments.
While on their cruise, Sam dives overboard, lured by a Siren’s call (a muse adeptly played by Alainy Kendall, a Lee University student whose well-acted persona attracts men with a melody of passion only to make them perish upon reaching her). Observers felt Kendall’s performance was indeed luring, enticing, and played with just the right unattached emotion that made her seem both real and fantastical. With Sam presumed dead, Rose looks up an old college friend, Richard Miller (played by Jacob Shrimplin), who invites her to meet at a restaurant.
He turns out to have sexual intentions beyond Rose’s expectations. Sam survives and returns home to Rose’s shock to reignite his love for Rose, and by the final curtain, Rose and Sam rediscover the attraction they had for each other.
Director Dan Buck’s direction kept the pace of the play moving and the audience laughing with the interaction between Rose’s and Sam’s confrontational dialogue.
Although the play has only four characters, the Lee presentation was considered a fast-paced, entertaining and delightful experience with many laughter-filled moments and a welcome treat for theatergoers who enjoy live acting. The intimate atmosphere of Venue Creekside, with its close to stage seating and ambience, made for a perfect combination for the players and audience.
Tapper announced the upcoming fall show for the Guild — “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” a Tony award-winning broadway musical comedy. Auditions will be announced in July of this summer.
“The Ocoee Theatre Guild is on its way to becoming the go-to theater company for diversity of productions of professional quality in our community, with many opportunities for local residents to get involved in all aspects of our organization” Tapper said. “We want persons of all backgrounds with an interest and passion for live theater to get in touch with us.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/ocoeetheatreguild.