by April Helms
Special Products Editor
Audiences will be taken back to an era of Ed Sullivan, beehive hairdos and ruler-wielding nuns in Aurora Community Theatre's production of "Over the Tavern," which opened Oct. 26.
The semi-autobiographical play by Tom Dudzick centers on 12-year-old Rudy (played by Trevor Sobel), the youngest of the four Pazinski children. He's supposed to be preparing for his Confirmation, with the assistance of the strict Sr. Clarissa (played by Chris White), who is not afraid to use a ruler to make her point.
But the smart and curious Rudy is beginning to have doubts about the things he has been taught and begins to question them, to the horror of the good sister and his family. Besides, Rudy would rather work on his Ed Sullivan impersonation and have fun.
Rudy's two oldest siblings also are beginning to change, attempting to cross that precarious bridge from childhood to adulthood. Eddie (played by Cody Kilpatrick Steele) is both rebelling against his strict family and trying to protect them; he's also discovered girly magazines and tries to sneak them into the house.
"It was different from any other character I've played," said Steele, a Twinsburg resident. "Usually I play adults at the high school, so playing someone closer to my age was a learning experience."
Steele said it was a challenge "meeting the comedy with the teen," and creating a balance between the two.
The high-strung and sensitive Annie (played by Hannah Gang) is battling her own conflicting feelings about boys and a schoolyard scandal. Georgie (played by Robby Albrecht) is the third child, is mentally challenged and mostly nonverbal, but probably understands what is going on far better than he is able to communicate (or wants to let on).
Mother Ellen (played by Jennifer Warren) tries to hold it all together with a combination of discipline, understanding and humor. She frequently finds herself serving as a buffer between the children and their struggling, overworked and temperamental father Chet (played by Adam Young).
Warren said she was raised as a Catholic and attended Catholic schools growing up.
"That's the way it was when you were in Catholic school," she said. "You were intimidated."
Barbara L. Rhoades, who directed the production, commended her cast.
"This cast has been like a family to me as well as each other," Rhoades said. "I haven't worked with kids in 25 years, and had a bit of trepidation. But they were wonderful. All I'd have to do was make a suggestion and they would run with it."
TICKET AND SHOW INFORMATION
Tickets at $16 for adults, $11 for youth 18 and under, and are available online, including seat selection, at www.auroracommmunitytheatre.com, or call the box office at 330-562-1818. Group discounts are available by calling the box office.
Performances start at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 17.
The Aurora Community Theatre is at 115 E. Pioneer Trail.
NEXT ON STAGE
The theater will next produce "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams from Jan. 25 through Feb. 16.
Aurora Community Theatre will have auditions for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams Nov. 11 and 12 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Craig Joseph will direct.
Callbacks will be Nov. 14. Auditions will be at Aurora Community Theatre. All roles are available, including five children, aged 6 to 11
Adult actors should prepare two contrasting monologues, one comic and one dramatic, not to exceed five minutes total. Bring a headshot and resume if available, along with a calendar of conflicts. All child actors may just show up, accompanied by a parent, and will be guided through some acting games.
Contact Joseph at email@example.com or 847-456-2030 for details.
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" performances 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Jan 25 through Feb. 16.
Rehearsals are tentatively scheduled to begin on Dec. 9.
One Acts Festival
The theater is looking for aspiring playwrights to submit original one act plays that are no more than 10 pages or 10 minutes long. The top entries will be performed Aug. 16 and 17, and Aug. 23 and 24.
Each author may submit up to two scripts for an entry fee of $10. Fees will be used to cover the cash prizes, advertising and performance production costs. Entries must be received by Feb. 27.
The competition is open to all playwrights age 18 or older. Scripts are to be original, unpublished, and not previously performed within the greater Cleveland area. Staged readings or workshop productions will not disqualify a script.
For details, visit www.auroracommmunitytheatre.com.