The fall play is full of changes for the cast and crew at Hinsdale South High School. Not only is the choice of the Neil Simon farce “Rumors” a stark contrast to the drama, “Bang, Bang You’re Dead,” that ended last season, it is the first show in decades to happen without the direction of Pamn Baker, who retired in May after 32 years with the district.
“They have done a fantastic job with the transfer,” said sophomore Jimmy Ladd of the two-man team chosen to follow in Baker’s long-held role.
Danny Yuska will direct the fall play and the spring one-act, while Christopher Kostro, now in his second year at South, will direct the winter one-act and the musical.
The ability to adjust to a new director’s style is a skill that actors need to have, said Manley, who sees a great advantage in having two directors. Professional actors, she said, typically have a new director for every show.
Manley said her character, Claire, is not only her biggest role yet at South, it is a big change from her last role as the mother of a teenager who is driven to murder in “Bang, Bang You’re Dead.”
“Claire would be the queen bee if she was in high school,” Manley said.
“Rumors” is a farce that centers on a group of wealthy people gathered to celebrate one couple’s 10th anniversary. Chaos ensues after the host shoots himself in the earlobe, setting off a series of mishaps as the group concocts a convoluted coverup.
The show is a blend of comedy styles. There is physical comedy, plain old silliness and some sarcasm. All in all, Manley said, it’s just funny.
“I have a hard time not cracking up on stage,” she said.
Yuska said he wanted a funny show for his directorial debut at Hinsdale South. The play Yuska chose is as new to him as it is to his 20 actors, who are double cast in the show’s 10 roles. A teacher in Iowa for seven years before coming to South this semester, Yuska said he has never directed the same show twice.
“I like a good challenge,” he said.
The challenge of this show is in the physical comedy.
“There is a lot of movement,” Yuska said. Not only are the actors moving, the dialogue moves quickly, too.
Like Ladd, David Petrak plays the cynical but sweet Lenny in “Rumors.” Ladd called the show an “intricate comedy,” in which every word and movement is important to the flow of the story.
“It takes a lot of practice,” Petrak said.
Ladd said the show promises plenty of good laughs, and a chance to see a group of young actors doing what they love to do.