By Lindsey Ziliak Kokomo Tribune
---- — It’s the early 1980s in New York City and Olive Madison invites the girls over for an evening of Trivial Pursuit – instead of poker – and hilarity ensues.
That’s how Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple Female Version” opens up.
Kokomo Civic Theatre is bringing the play here next weekend.
Elizabeth Carter, who plays Olive, says it’s sure to entertain audiences all the way until the end.
In fact, when she first read the script, she found herself laughing uncontrollably until her fellow cast members told her to pull it together, she said.
The story centers on the easygoing Madison and her neat, neurotic friend, Florence Ungar, played by Jill Bond.
“Olive is a newscaster, but she’s a flop,” director Maggie Duncan said, with a laugh.
Ungar just recently separated from her husband, and she’s trying to figure out how to make it on her own.
“She’s learning to stand on her own two feet,” Duncan said.
The plotline revolves around Madison’s weekly Trivial Pursuit nights and takes place over a three-week period in the middle of summer.
Carter says it explores the issues women face and how women’s friendships grow stronger through the years.
Duncan said it’s sort of a coming-of-age tale.
There are two males in the play who portray Spanish brothers. Duncan said the actors are obviously not Spanish, so their portrayal should be funny.
Carter said everything about the play is humorous.
It’s a stark contrast to the civic theatre’s last production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
They’re swapping out the intense drama for a lighter tale that will keep people smiling.
“It’s the perfect show to come see if you’ve got a lot on your mind,” Carter said. “You’ll get wrapped up in these women’s lives, and you’ll just laugh.”
Duncan said it’s the first time she’s directed a full-length play, but her cast has made it easy on her.
The cast members, especially the women, mesh really well together. And none of them really knew each other before the production started.
“It’s been a perfect match,” she said.
The only struggle through this production has been the weather, Duncan said. The bitter cold temperatures forced the group out of its rehearsal studio. High heating costs left the building too cold.
So they’ve been traveling to different cast members’ houses to rehearse.
“I feel like a gypsy group,” Duncan said.
On top of that, multiple rehearsals had to be canceled because of the snow.
Carter said that means she will likely get little to no sleep the week of the performances. It’s ok, though, she said.
She’s just happy to be performing again. It’s the first time in years that she’s acted in a production.
“I’m excited to get back on stage,” she said. “I missed it.”
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at email@example.com or on Twitter @LindseyZiliak.
WANT TO GO? WHAT: Kokomo Civic Theatre presents "The Odd Couple Female Version" WHEN: 8 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 1 and 2 p.m. March 2 WHERE: Indiana University Kokomo's Havens Auditorium COST: $10 for adults, $9 for senior citizens and $8 for students through college