Carrollwood Players' CAUGHT IN THE NET Now In Performances
What ensues on the stage at Carrollwood Players May 13 through 28 is hilarious comedic magic of subterfuge - with ringing phones, locked doors, and lots of physical comedy full of fast-paced slapstick dialogue of miscommunications and exaggerations - two households side by side, mayhem happening simultaneously at breakneck speed.
This is helped considerably by a perfect set, designed by Rayfield and brought to life by set builder Jim Johnson, set dresser Barbara Trax, cast and crew. It has both of Smith's homes on the stage interconnected, yet looking differently to reflect the audience is looking at two separate households. The set has many, many doors - essential to the action as the actors go in and out of them constantly.
"The secret to the success of such plays as Caught in the Net seems to lie in two areas - a preposterous plot that keeps surprising and twisting into new areas coupled with characters who are ultimately believable and real. It's the real people in preposterous plots that is the real secret," said director Jim Rayfield. "The characters in Caught in the Net are very ordinary middle class people who have jobs, run households, and raise children. What makes them so funny is watching them try to makes sense of a universe that seems to conspire against them with an abundance of coincidence and very bad timing."
Caught in the Net stars both actors familiar to the local community theatre as well as those who've just discovered it. The crazy farce features Dan Allmond, Jessica Mazza, Alexa Sheppard, Nicholas Knetzke, Stephan Bielawski, Zachary Wayson, and Serena Kline.
Rayfield said, "Actors in this type of play are faced with the dual problem of being real while also finessing out the comedy, and we are very fortune to have found seven zanies who can juggle both of those jobs with great skill."
Actor Allmond plays the bigamist John Smith who rushes frantically on and off stage, from one wife to the other. He learned a lot about doing physical comedy under the careful watch of Rayfield. If the male actors look exhausted at the end of the show, there is good reason.
"This is the most fun I have ever had throwing myself around a stage for comedy," Allmond said.
Allmond isn't the only actor that takes a face plant. Bielawski plays doddering Dad who wanders about the Streatham residence convinced it is a hotel in Felixstowe. He finds himself on the floor many times in this show.
"It's a real blast playing a role that features lots of punch lines and pratfalls," he said.
Having a blast appears to be the theme for the actors in Caught in the Net.
Actor Wayson who plays Smith's teenage son, Gavin said, "Watching this talented cast discover new facets of their characters within such a comedic piece has been both instructional and inspiring. I can definitely say I've grown as an actor collaborating with these fellows... And had a blast while doing so."
Actress Mazza who plays wife Barbara Smith also had great things to say about her cast, especially the young man who plays her son.
"The cast has been very fun to work with, and I've been especially impressed by Zach. This is his first mainstage play, and he's just an absolute natural. I think he's a perfect example of why new talent should come out to audition. Zach has done great with learning his lines, developing comedic timing, and he has wonderful facial expressions. I couldn't be more proud of my 'son.' Fortunately for me, Barbara has the least amount of physical comedy in the show, but I'm in awe of my fellow actors for all of their pratfalls and physical comedy."
Fourteen-year-old Kline plays Vicky, a huge contrast to her last dramatic performance at Carrollwood Players in The Diary of Anne Frank. Kline is exceptional in her petulance.
"I love with working with this cast. They're hilarious," said Kline. "As far playing Vicky, she's a whiny teenage girl being kept away from a boy by her father. I just channel my inner me when I'm upset and there's Vicky."
Actress Sheppard who plays Mary Smith said, "Any farce can be a bit of a challenge because of the ensuing insanity, but this one takes the cake for being fast paced and equally hilarious. It's been so much fun to work on this show and I guarantee that the audience will have a blast as well."
Knetzke plays the Wimbledon lodger Stanley Gardner who finds himself being submerged deeper and deeper into lying in order to protect Smith's secret life from being revealed. Knetzke executes the funny dialogue with precision timing and his facial expressions require no explanation.
Much like his overwhelmed character, actor Knetzke was a man of few words when asked about the show.
"It is good... and stuff."
Carrollwood Players is located at 4333 Gunn Hwy. Caught in the Nets runs May 13 - 28, 2016 with performances Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20. Senior, student, military and CABA discount tickets are $17. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. Tickets are available at www.carrollwoodplayers.org. For group reservations for parties of 10 or more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.