“The Odd Couple (female version)” showcases the talents of, from left, Lory Cox as Florence Unger and Josie Lawson as Olive Madison. (Special Photo)
With all the wintry weather, actresses in the upcoming production of “The Odd Couple (female version)” have lost a lot of preparation time, so recently they hunkered down for some marathon rehearsals.
“If you put six strong-willed women in a room for hours and hours, because we had to play catch-up, you would expect grumpiness, hostility, but there has been none of that. It’s been beautiful,” said the show’s director Cathe Hall-Payne.
The cast is gearing up for the New Depot Players’ performance of, “The Odd Couple (female version),” written by Neil Simon, set to run Feb. 27 and 28 and March 1, 6, 7 and 8, at 8 p.m.; and March 2 and 9 at 3 p.m. at Center Street Arts, 910 Center St. in Olde Town Conyers.
Tickets are $20 for general admission and $16 for seniors 60 and over and students with ID. There will also be a preview night Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10. Tickets may be reserved by calling 678-374-3224 or online at www.thenewdepotplayers.com.
Groups of 15 or more will receive a discount of $4 off each ticket and may set up a dessert social with the cast and crew by calling Cathe Hall-Payne or Angela Short at 404-527-8786 or 404-578-1803.
Hall-Payne said the female version of “The Odd Couple” is just like the male version except for some adjustments made for gender. Oscar Madison’s counterpart is Olive Madison and Felix Unger becomes Florence Unger.
Olive the slob and Florence the neatnik drive each other crazy as roommates, and exhibit the same type of behavior as the men did in “The Odd Couple.” For example, in an effort to get on Florence’s nerves Olive drops eyelashes (instead of cigar ashes) into Florence’s pancake batter.
In the women’s “Odd Couple” comedy, the men’s poker party is replaced by a Trivial Pursuit game. Characters stopping in the apartment to play the weekly game include a female cop, a bossy black woman, a Catholic Jew and a whiny ditsy blonde who drinks too much wine, said Hall-Payne.
“It actually transfers very smoothly,” said Hall-Payne.
As the story unfolds, Olive lets a distraught Florence, whose husband wants a divorce, move in, but Florence’s cooking and cleaning frenzy forces Olive to kick her out. Florence then moves in with two Latino men, counterparts to the Pigeon sisters from “The Odd Couple.”
Hall-Payne said that she gathered the actresses together for lunches so they could loosen up and chat, and that each woman has performed onstage with at least one of the other women in the cast at some point in time.
Hall-Payne said she is thrilled to be working with assistant director Sylvia Veith, who was Hall-Payne’s high school drama teacher. Veith cast Hall-Payne into the role of a Pigeon Sister back when she directed “The Odd Couple” at Shiloh High School.
“I love her. She is the reason I started doing theater,” said Hall-Payne, whose been involved with productions both as a performer and director for 35 years.
Hall-Payne said that the camaraderie among the women translates to the stage.
“It’s really about friends, women who have been friends since high school and the things that have gone in their lives,” she said. “We all have deaths, births, marriages, divorces. Neil Simon just slaps the funny on top.”