By Andrew Dinsmoor, Senior Staff Writer
Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple had its opening night at the Omaha Community Playhouse on Jan. 21. The Playhouse, a classy and spacious theatre maintained through community donations and staffed by volunteers, was warm with laughter as freezing temperatures kept the city of Omaha stiff outside.
The Odd Couple, for those who don’t know, is a comedy about two divorced men, Oscar and Felix. Oscar and Felix are close friends, and when Felix’s wife divorces him, he moves in with his friend Oscar. As they settle into life with one another, their polar-opposite relationship develops, and the two men begin to resemble a married couple—here is the concept and wit behind the play. What unfolded were humorous scenes of nagging, bickering and arguing that kept the audience laughing.
A lot of work went into making the production successful, funny and lively. Mike Markey, who played Roy, said, “We started rehearsing around mid December, and we rehearsed five days a week up to opening up to tonight.” After the show, he went on to say that their rehearsals always started with a great deal of energy, which carried into their performances. They were fun and the only tricky part was remembering the lines.
Remembering lines can make or break a play. Unfortunately, it was clear that Friday’s showing was the play’s opening night, as a few lines were noticeably stumbled over, although not completely forgotten. This was most noticeable in Oscar’s performance, played by Edward Cutler. However, as this play is a swift-moving comedy filled with zingers and goofiness, these mishaps did not hinder the viewer’s experience much and the play and all of its actors were, in the end, a success.
The man who stole the show, as they say, was Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek, who played Oscar’s counterpart Felix. Clark-Kaczmarek played a neurotic, high-energy, highly entertaining man who will clean every mess, dust every pan and Febreze every room to the point of compulsion. “I loved playing this character. Though I was teased a lot, because I’m a lot like this in real life,” Clark-Kaczmarek said. His exuberant energy and comfort in the character of Felix was fresh and evident in his performance.
Throughout the play, Felix clashes with his friend Oscar, who is more of a go-with-the-flow slob. The pull-and-tug relationship created by these differences is what gives the play its dynamics, its dynamite, its life.
Despite its minor flaws The Odd Couple was a fast, funny play that kept the audience engaged. The play is running through Feb. 13, and if there’s one thing I noticed, the audience could use a few more college students. As Edward Cutler said when I asked him for points of advice to draw a younger audience to the Playhouse, “There’s nothing like live theatre; it’s the best.”