BWW Interview: Jason Breaux of FOX ON THE FAIRWAY at Theatre Baton Rouge
Ken Ludwig's A FOX ON THE FAIRWAY - billed as "a charmingly madcap adventure about love, life, and man's eternal love affair with...golf" - opens Friday night at Theatre Baton Rouge.
The show runs weekends through March 15.
The action takes place as two rival country clubs, Quail Valley and Crouching Squirrel, go swing-for-swing into their 43rd annual grudge match. With money, jobs, and reputations on the line, this madcap adventure is filled with slamming doors and over-the-top romantic shenanigans reminiscent of the Marx Brothers.
Directed by Jason Breaux, the cast features Bill Corcoran as Henry Bingham, Phyllis Horridge as Pamela Peabody, Chris Forrer as Justin Hicks, Tiffany Gilly as Louise Heindbedder, Chad Harelson as Dickie Bell and Chrissy Bienvenu as Muriel Bingham.
BroadwayWorld.com sat down with Breaux to find out how FOX ON THE FAIRWAY compares to Ludwig's other works and how it pays tribute to early farces of the 30s and '40s.
BroadwayWorld.com: What is your past involvement with TBR as a performer/director?
Breaux: I've been involved with Theatre Baton Rouge since 2015 as a performer in shows like Beauty and the Beast (The Beast), Mamma Mia (Sam Carmichael), The Explorers Club (Lucius Fretway) and many more. FOX ON THE FAIRWAY is my 4th production here at TBR as a director, including A Christmas Carol just a couple months ago, and The Rocky Horror Show and She Kills Monsters, both in 2018.
BroadwayWorld.com: What attracted you to direct FOX ON THE FAIRWAY?
Breaux: I am a huge fan of farces. It's my favorite theatrical genre. Managing all of that intricacy and timing is just exhilarating. There's less pressure to demand a realism that reflects a life that you would find in drama and more emphasis on exaggeration and the incredible. That's when work becomes play. It's a joy from beginning to end, and you top it off with sharing a piece of theatre that, if done well, will make people giddy to the point of tears for nearly two hours. Fox in particular was interesting to me because of the existing tradition of great golf comedies that I love and grew up watching. I can't tell you how many times I've watched Caddyshack or Happy Gilmore, and I think this show about the obsession with golf is up there with them.
BroadwayWorld.com: How does FOX ON THE FAIRWAY pay tribute to the early farces of the '30s and '40s?
Breaux: The early British farces were all about the wordplay being used to convey insinuation, innuendo, and misunderstanding. This was long before the wildly popular bedroom farces that dominated the latter half of the century, so everything was much more implied. I think Ludwig hearkens to this era because the reservedness is how he sees the game of golf. Perhaps not big and flashy, but full of nuance and subtext.
BroadwayWorld.com: How does it compare with Ken Ludwig's other works such as Lend Me A Tenor or Moon Over Buffalo?
Breaux: Ken Ludwig has a signature style to his comedic writing. Anyone familiar with Lend Me a Tenor or Moon over Buffalo will feel right at home and find many familiar feelings, characters, and situations in FOX ON THE FAIRWAY. Wild physical comedy, ridiculous chases around the stage, and maybe even a familiar ending.
BroadwayWorld.com: What is your vision for this production?
Breaux: Vision is a word I rarely use. The best thing about theatre is that it's a process, like painting a painting or sculpting a statue. Of course, you have a plan when you begin, but you have to allow it to become what it becomes without chaining yourself to your original idea. I provide a framework for collaboration, a foundation on which to build, and through everyone contributing, it becomes something unique, something you couldn't plan. If you want to know our goal for the show, our goal is to be the funniest show Theatre Baton Rouge has seen in a long time, and I believe this talented cast is going to more than deliver.
BroadwayWorld.com: What would you say is the overall theme of the show?
Breaux: If I had to pick one summarizing phrase for this show, it would be "The huge importance of small things." The show's plot is constantly driven by small things being blown out of proportion: a lost ring, and mishandled vase, a bad joke, a friendly bet between rivals. All of this happens against the backdrop of this enormously important game that is, in essence, all about a tiny ball.
BroadwayWorld.com: How have rehearsals been going?
Breaux: Rehearsals for this show are a blast. This cast is wildly talented and very funny. As a director, you always have plans for how scenes will play out, but you have to be open to better ideas when they come along. Let's just say I've come across a lot of better ideas during this show, and it's been amazing. I'm in stitches constantly, and everyone has contributed so much to the show. I secretly wish our rehearsals are longer, but I'm not the one running around on stage for hours. They're pretty tired by the end. After you see the show, you'll completely understand why.
BroadwayWorld.com: Anything else you'd like to add?
Breaux: We run February 28 to March 15. Come to our "Pay What You Can" performance on February 27, so you can help us get the word out! Join Theatre Baton Rogue's Facebook page for specials on ticket sales. See you on the course!
Performances are 7:30 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20-$26 and can be purchased online at theatrebr.org or by calling the box office at 225-924-6496. Note: Some adult humor may not be suitable for younger audience members.