A farce can be tough to perform because of the need for accurate timing, said Teresa Jackson, director of the Iowa Central Community College theater program.
"A farce, especially, is really hard because it's all about the timing. For every line, for almost every word there has to be a reaction, and in this one there are so many reactions that have to be in sync, on the mark," Jackson said.
"The nature of a farce is that someone is always in the door, out the door. They're here, they're there. It's harder to do than any other type of show."
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Officer Welsh, played by Marty Wessels, gets a little physical in his questioning methods with Ken Gorman, portrayed by Jefferson Fosbender, in the Iowa Central Community College production of “Rumors.”
Fortunately, she said, her students are rising to the challenge.
Iowa Central will present "Rumors" Thursday through Saturday at Decker Auditorium. The play takes place in an upscale New York City townhouse where four couples have gathered to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of a deputy mayor and his wife, Jackson said.
"However, the first couples to arrive soon discover that there are no servants, that the wife is missing, and that the deputy mayor has shot himself in the head," she said. "When the host passes out before offering any explanations, the suppositions and the rumors begin to swirl.
If you go
WHO: Iowa Central Community College theater department
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
WHERE: Decker Auditorium, Iowa Central campus
TICKETS: On sale now, $6 adult and $3 for students K-12. Available on campus at the Iowa Central bookstore, online at iowacentral.edu/bookstore, by phone 574-1081, or at the door.
Ken Gorman: Jefferson Fosbender
Chris Gorman: Emily Garst
Lenny Ganz: Kaluba Namoonde
Claire Ganz: Tara Jackson
Ernie Cusack: Martin Wise
Cookie Cusack: Maria Francois
Glenn Cooper: Codey Christiansen
Cassie Cooper: Olivia Jondle
Officer Welch: Marty Wessels
Officer Pudney: Anna Wulfekuhler
"Comic complications arise when, given everyone's upper class status, they decide they need to do everything possible to conceal the evening's events from the local police and the media."
The play's small cast is one thing that sets it apart from other recent productions.
"Last year I did a huge play. I had a cast of 50. This is a cast of 10," Jackson said. "When it's a smaller cast, it's just more intimate. It becomes a family really quickly."
"Everyone is obviously very talented, because there were very few parts and many, many people auditioned. So if you got a role, it was an honor," said Maria Francois, one of the actors.
An Iowa Central sophomore originally from Manson, Francois has seen her share of the stage.
"I've been in every theatrical fall play and musical since eighth grade," she said. She's also been in three plays in college and said it helps her grow.
"In high school, I felt like a big fish in a small pond, and now I feel like a big fish in a big pond," she said. "I feel like people are pushing me to be better."
Freshman Codey Christiansen has appeared in numerous musicals, but this is his first fall play. He explained some of the things he's learned in his first college production.
"Punching lines, over exaggerating everything, because it may sound funny up on stage, but to the audience it sounds like a normal conversation," he said.
This will be the fourth Iowa Central play for Kaleuba Namoonde, who lived half his life in Rodgers, Minn., and half in Lusaka, Zambia.
"It's the main city in Zambia. It's way down south in Africa. I came here first when I was about nine, saw the cold for the first time and was not happy," he said. "We mostly came to the U.S. for education, but I think I just might stay."
Namoonde was involved in the school news crew and many anti-bullying and multicultural groups in high school, but his first stage experience was in Fort Dodge.
"I did no theater before I came here. Teresa discovered me," he said.
Namoonde's character, a rich Internal Revenue Service man, spends most of the play trying to cover up what happened at the townhouse.
"In the end, I come out and make up a whole story from my head and it's a fantastic story, so I've really had a lot of fun memorizing that monologue," he said.
Sophomore Marty Wessels said learning a New York accent was one of the challenges for him.
"It's a lot different from anything else I've ever played, largely because of the accent and the backstory you have to assume with a grumpy cop in New York," Wessels said.
"The really cool thing about this play is the set," Wessels added. "Last year we had lots of small scenes and it shifted around a lot. But in this one the whole play takes place in one room and it's a very consistent set."