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‘Fuddy Meers:’ A comedic romp down memory lane

By Tom Durkin
Special to Prospector
Unencumbered by dark memories from her past, Claire (Kate Haight) greets each day with innocent joy.
Photo by Tom Durkin

Every day is a new day for Claire, a wife and mother who doesn’t know she is a wife and mother until her doting husband Richard tells her every day when she wakes up.

Richard explains she has had amnesia for years. He shows her a book that tells her everything she needs to know. He also introduces her to her son Kenny, a sullen, pot-smoking teenager.

The Limping Man (T.E. Wolfe) pleads his case to an unforgiving Claire (Kate Haight).
Photo by Tom Durkin

Only today is different. When Richard goes to take a shower, a man in a ski mask crawls out from under a pile of dirty laundry. As we learn, “Limping Man” (that’s his name in the script) is not a trustworthy sight or individual. He lisps, he limps, is blind in one eye, deaf in one horribly disfigured ear, and, oh yeah, he has half of a set of handcuffs around one wrist.



Despite all that, he is persuasive and coercive. Hapless and clueless, Claire finds herself in a car with Limping Man driving to her mother’s house in a nearby state.

Richard and Kenny take off in hot pursuit, but they are pulled over for speeding while stoned by Heidi, a cop with a big gun.



Things look bad, so Richard makes them worse by overpowering Heidi and taking her hostage.

Gertie (Corinne Gelfan) shows Richard (Paul Micsan) a photo album of memories.
Photo by Tom Durkin

A FAMILY REUNION

Gertie, Claire’s mom, is surprised and delighted to see her daughter, but very upset to see Limping Man. Gertie has had a stroke. Her mind is clear, but her speech is almost incomprehensible.

Adding to the confusion, Hinky Binky, a truth-telling sock puppet, arrives at Gertie’s kitchen window with a man named Millet. Half of a handcuffs set is attached to Millet’s non-puppet arm.

Affairs get even more frenetic when Richard, Kenny and Heidi show up. Chaos ensues as Claire begins to recover her memory when Gertie shows her “fuddy meers.”

An angry Kenny (Preston Reischman) throws anything he can find at Limping Man (T.E. Wolfe) in the climax of “Fuddy Meers.”
Photo by Tom Durkin

WHO’S WHO

“Fuddy Meers” is a production of the UpStart Theatre Company, a plucky little theatrical troupe run by artistic director Pam Hodges and general manager Danny McCammon.

McCammon is directing the play. Well-known local actress Kate Haight stars as Claire. She is supported by a crew of accomplished local actors and one newcomer.

T.E. Wolfe is Limping Man, Paul Micsan plays Richard, and Corinne Gelfan portrays Gertie. Preston Reischman is making his acting debut as Kenny.

Audrey Delgado is Heidi. John Bivens and Brandon Johnson trade off the roles of Millet and Hinky Binky during the run of the play.

GETTING INTO CHARACTER

Actors have different ways of “getting into character.” Haight revealed she uses an “inside out” acting technique. She takes secret episodes from her personal life to inform her portrayal of Claire.

Wolfe said Limping Man is a tough role both physically and mentally. Besides limping, lisping, and having to wear knee- and elbow-pads to avoid injury, he must embody an evil character, which is antithetical to his good-natured, offstage persona.

As the speech-impaired Gertie, Gelfan has had to master two sets of dialogue. For instance, when she says, “I ding I fow da bach, Record,” it’s supposed to mean “I think I found the box, Richard.”

Director Danny McCammon crosses the stage during a dress rehearsal of “Fuddy Meers.”
Photo by Tom Durkin

THREE MORE WEEKENDS

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire wrote “Fuddy Meers,” which opened Off-Broadway in New York City to rave reviews in 1999.

Director McCammon said: “It’s my favorite play. I have been casting, recasting, and designing this show in my head for a long time.” He cast his favorite actor for the starring role. “Kate Haight is easily one of the most purely honest performers I’ve ever known. It’s one of the many reasons I married her, and a very good reason to cast her as Claire.”

The two-act play opened last weekend at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City. It runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. through Oct. 8. Tickets are $25 – $30.

“Fuddy Meers” is an adult comedy with dark undertones. After a COVID-imposed hiatus, the UpStart Theatre Company is back with a fun and professional production with some of Nevada County’s best actors.

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer, editor and photo/videographer in Nevada County and a member of The Union Editorial Board. He may be contacted at tjdurkin3@gmail.com or http://www.tomdurkin-media.com.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Fuddy Meers

WHO: UpStart Theatre Company

WHERE: Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad St., Nevada City

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Thurs, Fri, Sat through Oct. 8

TICKETS: $25-$30; at the door or online at http://FUDDYMEERS.THUNDERTIX.COM

MORE INFO: (530) 265-6161 or https://nevadatheatre.com/events/upstart-theatre-company-presents-fuddy-meers/

 

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