When two middle-aged sisters are faced with the responsibility of looking after their orphaned teenage niece, they do what anyone - or at least what they think anyone - would do, by taking to the streets as beggars.
That's how the story unfolds in John Patrick's "Cheating Cheaters," set to be presented this week by Hawkeye Community Theatre.
The plot revolves around the malicious adventures of two sisters, Theresa and Angelica, who are left to look after their niece, Tania, an art student in Europe.
Not knowing how to support themselves and their budding artist of a niece, the sisters disguise themselves as "sisters" and take to the streets of New York as begging nuns to help put Tania through school.
"Tania shows up, and she is really kind of oblivious to all that is going on," said Amanda Von Dolteren, who plays Tania. "Her aunts are pretending to be begging nuns to help her go to art school, but she just has no idea that they are really thieves."
Soon, the sisters are joined by a new partner in crime, Ben, a young medical student looking to raise some funds of his own to help pay back the debts that have stacked up from his years of education. Ben also heads to the streets disguised as a blind man, complete with cane and seeing eye dog, and in the midst of it all, becomes quite fond of an unsuspecting Tania.
If you go:
What: Hawkeye Community Theatre production of "Cheating?Cheaters"
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. July 15
Before long the begging trio thinks they are caught when they have an encounter with a cop named Bozo, but it turns out he may not be so honest himself.
"Bozo's not you ordinary police officer," said Director Ashley Garst. "He's more of a corrupt cop."
Garst said the "Cheating Cheaters" cast has been particularly fun to work with as they have fallen into their character roles.
"We have a great variety of people in this show from all over the area," Garst said. "There are a lot of funny moments and it makes me chuckle to seem them put all of those moments together. It's fun to watch."
"Each character has their own personality, and it's been fun seeing our cast bring those characters to life," said Director Katie Hazel.
Hazel said she had hoped to eventually present the show when the right cast was found to fit the parts.
"I actually read this play a few years ago," said Hazel. "Getting the right people and seeing it all come to life has been fun."
For Nicole McFarland, who plays Angelica, her first role in a Hawkeye production has been one that she can identify with.
"Angelica is the authoritative one," McFarland said. "She comes up with all the money making schemes. I found out I might even have more attitude than I thought, the role is coming much more naturally to me than I expected."
"It's a very funny show," said McFarland. "It's hard to get through practice without laughing because it is so funny."
Barb Cory, who plays Theresa, agrees that the cast has made the production fun.
"I've done quite a few humorous shows here, but this one is hilarious," Cory said. "This cast is so upbeat, everyone has fallen into their characters nicely."
The show opens Tuesday with performances Tuesday through Saturday evening at 7 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. A picnic supper will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and is free to HCT members and $5 per person for non-members. Tickets for the performance are $10 and are available at the door.