BWW Interviews: The Cast of LYING IN STATE Discusses the Wacky, Wonderful Comedy
Most people have heard the usual jokes about some senators being so old, they are practically dead in office. But what if your local senator running for re-election actually was dead?
Welcome to the wacky, woeful dilemma in Lying in State, a comedy by David C. Hyer, directed by Jeff Czerbinski and assistant directed by Seth Thompson, premiering this Friday at the Washington County Playhouse in Hagerstown, MD.
"This show is the most fun audiences will ever have at a funeral home! Our director has assembled some of the most naturally comic actors and tuned their deliveries to highest levels in order to elicit genuine guffaws of laughter from the audience!" said Jeff Leinbach, who plays Fred.
In Lying in State, Senator Ed accidentally shoots himself while shooting at a squirrel. His friends, relatives, ex-wife and former exotic dancer and current girlfriend, all meet to pay their respects, while the Senator's manager still wants to get the deceased Senator re-elected!
"For me, the challenging part was to take some of the stereotypes we all have about politicians and to make them likeable and laughable. Some of the things that are normally held against political figures - the self-involved, self-important views and often ignorance of the plight of the everyday person - are not the normal things that endear us to our elected officials" said Leinbach.
"The most challenging part about playing Edna is simply not to get carried away in the other character's craziness. She is the only sane character in the show and it is extremely difficult to stay grounded with everything the other characters bring to the stage!" said Diana Abrecht, who plays Edna.
"All the characters are very unique in their point of view on the story" said David Keye, who plays Harry.
The cast agrees close bonds have formed during the rehearsal process.
"As with most shows, you build special bonds with the other actors and crew working on the play. I'm so thankful I've had the opportunity to meet, and really connect, with some wonderfully talented people over this past month of rehearsals. I am so lucky to be working with such an amazing 'theatre family' " said Abrecht
"I think rehearsals are where each actor gets to flesh out the characters, to try things that may - or may not - become permanent parts of the final person the audience gets to see. Our director, Jeff, allows us the freedom to explore and has a definite talent for finding the comedic 'gold' in all of us that enhances the chemistry of the cast to its fullest." said Leinbach
"It was great to get to know the characters and see them really come to life through the talents of the actors involved, as well as getting to know the new members of our theater family. It's a great group of people" said Keye.
Though Lying in State revolves around a dead politician, the show promises a lot of lively laughter.
"It's a funny, funny show, and the cast is top-notch. People are going to laugh a lot" said Keye.
"This dinner and show is a fantastic way for people to relax on the weekend, take a much needed break and really enjoy themselves. We are having a great time on stage with the late senator, and his six foot purple squirrels, and we can't wait to share it with the audience!" said Abrecht.
The Lying in State cast also features Colt Smith as Wally, Andre Brown as Herb, Amie Tweit as Buttons and Amanda Hartman as Margo.
Lying in State will run July 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 and August 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 with one Sunday matinee on August 17. Dinner hour will begin at 6:00 with the show shortly following at approximately 7:30 for evening performances and lunch hour for the matinee performance begins at 1:00 with the show following at approximately 2:30. For more information about the production or to make reservations, please call the box office at (301) 739-7469 or visit www.wcpdt.com.
Photo Credit: Washington County Playhouse