'Sorry!' promises comic relief throughout student-run play
November 30, 2006
Love triangles, hilarity and an air of Dick Van Dyke encompass the essence of “Sorry! Wrong Chimney!” -- the latest theater production at UW-River Falls.
Each year, there are four productions at UWRF. Three of them are run by faculty and staff, and the fourth is solely students. Last year, the spring show was the student production, but this year the show is on just before winter break.
“Sorry! Wrong Chimney!” involves a series of relationships and the way lives intertwine. In a snowball-type effect, the relationships get out of hand with accusations about affairs and falling out of love.
Happy husbands keep secrets from curious wives; a hypnotist puts one character into a trance, which causes more problems than the original issue; and a Santa-burglar finds his way into the mess of people.
“Basically, it’s a show of mistaken identities,” Naomi Magner, vice president of Masquers and “props mistress,” said. “It’ll be a night of laughs. From start to finish you will not stop laughing.”
The cast is made up of seven students from various departments at UWRF. Every person — from the costume designer to the director — is a student.
Masquers, a student organization that produces, supports and promotes student involvement in theater, funds the student show each year, and many of the students involved in the play are also members of the organization.
The student production tends to draw more people to audition for roles and become involved in the behind-the-scenes efforts as well.
“This one gets more people,” Director Kate Garlock said. “It could be because it’s less threatening — it’s all students.”
Garlock was elected director by a group of faculty. Usually the director of the student production is a senior who has completed the directing course offered through Speech Communication Theatre Arts, however the eligible seniors this year are graduating in December and opted not to take on the extra weight of running a show.
Garlock, a journalism major, has not completed the required course, or any other class offered in theater, but has taken part in almost every production since her freshman year. She became eligible to direct by directing a series of one-act plays this fall.
“It’s not something I want to get paid for down the road,” Garlock said. “I think it would take away from the fun of doing it.”
Other students are in similar positions. No matter what department the students find themselves in academically, most of them have made the theater productions their main extracurricular activity.
Freshman Amber Olson is one of seven cast members. She has been involved in theater since the age of seven and knew immediately she would immerse herself into the productions at UWRF. This is her first production as a student here.
Costume designer Sylvia Wadzinski is one of the members of the crew whose primary major is not in theatre, but instead is psychology. Wadzinski wants to pursue a master’s degree in costume design and has spent a considerable amount of time working with the UWRF theater productions.
“I think that in the end it [the show] will turn out well,” Wadzinski said. “Right now I’m a bit nervous, but it’s only the first run.”
Wadzinski has had a challenge with costumes, making sure the clothes are fit for the 1960s.
“Sorry! Wrong Chimney!” was written by Jack Sharkey. Garlock adds the twist of a 1960s setting and a “slapstick-type comedy” akin to “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
“I like it — the 60s setting,” Olson said. “It’s fun to play around with.”
Magner is in the same situation with props, though she has enjoyed the research of discovering “what type of wrapping paper was used in the 60s and the right style of Bergdorf bag that would have been carried.”
“It’s an easy show to watch,” Kelsey Anderson, a freshman and actor in the show, said. “You don’t have to think about anything. It allows the audience to just sit back and enjoy the show.”
Anderson, a theatre major, was eager to get involved in UWRF productions and joined Masquers right away. This is her first time acting for a show at the University, but she participated in the backstage efforts of the fall production.
“I was really excited to try out because I knew it was going to be fun,” Anderson said.
The primary audience for past shows has been comprised of members of the community in River Falls. Magner expressed concern about the lack of students who attend the shows, but insists it is worth their time.
“You can go to a show here and spend less on two tickets and a trip to the concessions than you would spend for one ticket at the movie theater in Hudson,” Magner said.
For students with a valid ID, it costs $4 for admission, and it is $7 for non-students. The show runs at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16.
“It’s going to be really funny,” actor Nicholas Moen, a senior, said. “It’s slapstick comedy. A lot of really goofy stuff happens.”