Cast prepares for ‘A Farce of Nature’ after auditions

The fall play, “A Farce of Nature,” is already getting started at Waynesburg University. Auditions took place last Wednesday and Thursday evening in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center, where Director Edward L. Powers observed his potential cast members as they read various scenes and displayed their acting abilities.

“A Farce of Nature,” a comedy set in a fishing lodge in Arkansas, is a play on words from the idiom, “a force of nature.” The script features what Powers describes as “outrageous comedy,” slapstick humor, nature references, fast-paced funniness and hilarious misunderstanding and mistaking between characters.

“When I was reading scripts over the summer, I wanted to do something… that is strictly entertainment; that is just there for laughs. Give the actor a good time, give the audience a good time [at the theater],” Powers said.

Of the past four shows the Waynesburg University Players staged, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in the spring of 2019, “The Boys Next Door” in the fall of 2018 and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in the fall of 2017, were all described by Powers as “very serious” productions with mature themes and emotional elements.

While the show’s entire purpose is to provoke laughter, Powers believes the actors will be able to grow in their abilities.

“Now, we can still learn from Farce, because Farce is not like every other comedy that’s out there,” Powers said. “So it is still going to be educational and it is still going to be enlightening and a challenge for the actors.”

During auditions, Powers looks for acting talent and line delivery, but also takes more influences into account.

“The decisions will be first and foremost based on the talent of the actor, but then there are other factors that one has to take into consideration – such as: the conflict schedule, the chemistry that they develop with other actors, even their classification whether it’s senior, junior, sophomore, or freshman,” Powers said. “So, there are a number of factors. It’s not just ‘Oh, he’s good for “so and so,” so he gets the part.’ There are other factors that go into these decisions.”

Powers describes actor chemistry as “like a pitcher and a catcher” because they are constantly “in communication with one another.”

“Actors have a mystical quality about them,” Powers said. “‘What makes this actor better than that actor?’ Maybe there’s just something in the eyes that makes this actor’s performance stand out a little bit more. Something that you can’t put your finger on, it’s not like a mathematical equation.”

The cast list was posted in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center Friday. There are only nine characters in the show.

Senior Holly Hendershot will be playing Wanelle Wilburn, junior Cory Tretinik as D. Gene Wilburn, sophomore McKenna Mercier as Jenna Sealy, sophomore Diamond Price as Maxine Suggs, sophomore James Gallucci as Carmine DeLuca, freshman Owen Funk as Ty Wilburn, sophomore Eden Koldys as Lola Barbosa, senior Connor Hoffman as Sonny Barbosa and freshman Elizabeth Collings as Roxane Thorne.

Pre-Medical major James Gallucci has been in every Waynesburg University Players production since his arrival as a freshman last year. He will be playing Carmine DeLuca, a timid gangster from Chicago on witness protection. James is very excited for his role but is second-guessing his ability to accomplish the Chicago-gangster accent.

“I’m nervous about messing up the accent and messing up the character as a whole,” Gallucci said.

Lachlan Loudon, The Yellow Jacket
James Gallucci, left, and McKenna Mercier, right, laugh during the first blocking practice.

Music management major Diamond Price, playing Maxine Suggs, is very pleased with her role as a strong-willed, retired police officer who has to guard Carmine under his witness protection. Maxine always seems to misplace her gun and bullets and has the thickest southern accent of the bunch.

“I’m excited to try and make people laugh as best as I can,” Price said. “I absolutely wanted this part and am very glad that I got it.”

“A Farce of Nature” will be performed Nov. 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center. Until then, the actors will relentlessly be preparing to bring this hysterical comedy to life.