See How They Run
What starts as a case of mistaken identity and motion spirals into a comedy of errors.
When Corporal Clive Winton (played by Kyle Vareberg) reunites with Penelope Toop (played by Jill Roberts)-who are old friends from their days of performing with the USO-in the play “See How They Run”, they re-enact a scene from a play they starred in after finding out the it is being shown locally. When the scene they re-enact involves an intense fight, churchwoman Miss Skillon (played by Diane Arstein) is accidently knocked unconscious.
“And it just spirals from there,” Vareberg said, adding that at moments in the play different people come on at different times and the characters have no idea who they’re talking to until the end.
The play is set in post-WWII England, in a vicarage in the fictional village of Merton-cum-Middlewick.
According to director Glory Monson, 49 years ago “See How They Run” was the first play Village Arts ever did.
“I taught at Minot High for a number of years, and when I was there we did this play at Minot with my students,” Monson said. “So I brought my students down to Rugby and we put this play on as the first play Village Arts ever did.”
From there, Village Arts did several musical productions, including “My Fair Lady”, “The Sound of Music”, “Oliver!” and “Les Miserables”.
“See How They Run” was done years later as a dinner theater production.
Monson said that since the first play, the audience has grown in more ways than one.
“When we first started, we aimed at an audience who had not done musicals and were not used to going to plays,” Monson said. “The audience itself has developed into a very critical audience, an audience that really knows theatre, so they expect a lot from us.
“In those days they were really surprised, ‘Oh, they can do a play!’ But now they’re very discerning, they’re good audiences. And I think the actors and audience have grown together, so we do good theater.”
Monson also added that actors have come a long way as well, some who have started in plays as young children are doing plays in their late teens, 20s, 30s and 40s.
Monson said a play like “See How They Run” differs in difficulty compared to a musical.
“I think most people would assume doing a musical is much harder, but actually it’s not,” Monson said. “Personally, I feel it’s harder to do a straight play than a musical and the actors kind of feel the same way.”
Roberts and Vareberg agreed.
“It’s a lot more work physically,” Roberts said. “Most of the things I’ve been in are musicals, and you usually get a music queue for specific movements. In comedy it’s just so much internal rhythm.
Vareberg said: “There’s a lot more of two or more people having to figure out the timing on two lines, because it has to be perfect or it’s going to throw everything off. And the continuous pace of the show is different than any show I’ve ever done.”
Arstein said a play like “See How They Run” is a different experience for her.
“I typically am on the other side of the stage,” Arstein said. “I am most comfortable in the audience, so this is quite different.”
The Village Arts production runs Monday, June 27, through Thursday, June 30-on the heels of a packed week of activities, including an all-school reunion and the Pierce County Fair-with 8 p.m. performances all nights at the Tilman Hovland Auditorium in Rugby High School.
Advanced tickets are on sale in the basement of the Heart of America Library.
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