The Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society’s first show of the season “Rumors” is over-the-top, entertaining and, simply put, ridiculous. Written by Neil Simon, who is is best known for his play “The Odd Couple,” which later became a popular sitcom, “Rumors” contains Simon’s trademark quick wit and absurd sense of humor. Tasked with handling its interpretation are director Ryan Seideman (COL ’19) and producer Colton Wade (SFS ’17, MSFS ’19), with technical direction by Katie Morgan (COL ’20) and stage management by Daniel Wheelock (COL ’19).

In choosing the show, Seideman and Wheelock decided on “Rumors” together. Seideman is a comedic director and he knew that he wanted to do a farce – a humorous play dependent on absurd situations. After looking through scripts, he picked up “Rumors” and knew instantly that it was the one.

“I think that in the scope of Mask and Bauble, we have not done a whole lot of farce, at least since I have been here,” Seideman said. “I think having that specific genre is what makes the show unique in the scope of the Mask and Bauble season.”

“Rumors” is set at a lavish dinner party, where four couples arrive to find the hostess along with the entire staff missing. There is food on the table, but it is all uncooked. The host, who is New York’s deputy mayor, is found upstairs with a bullet hole in his ear. Fearing for his reputation, he begs the first couple that arrives, socialites Ken and Chris Gorman, to keep his secret. From that point on, “the play is about them trying to cope with this ridiculous situation in the way that rich couples in the eighties would,” Wheelock said. There is physical humor, a fast pace and, of course, drama.

Of the 10 cast members, six are freshmen. Seideman has been extremely happy to work with this cast.

“Mask and Bauble is so open to everyone. There is always room for someone to get involved,” Seideman said. “I think that a lot of people are not sure about doing theater and it’s a great opportunity to get to know a lot of people.”

His point was proven in the endless laughs and supportive comments heard at rehearsal. Whether it is working through scenes or an improv workshop, the closeness of the cast allows them to be genuine on stage. This translates into an engaging experience for both the cast and the audience.

“Rumors” is the first production of Mask and Bauble’s 166th season. Every year, the club chooses a theme, and this year, Mask & Bauble has chosen “incredibly rare and dangerously new.” Even though “Rumors” originally premiered in 1988, many of the topics it touches upon are particularly relevant to today’s cultural atmosphere. Mixed in with the comedy is commentary on class, politics and status. Dan Ruescher (COL ’20), who plays Ken Gorman, sees all of these aspects in many of the characters.

“These characters are on the wealthier side of the society, they all have reputations they are trying to uphold,” Ruescher said. “They all like to gossip, they all like to talk about each other behind each other’s backs. This kind of juicy gossip is something that their society generally would love, so this would all be really dangerous for their reputations if it got out.”

Considering that classes have only been in session for six weeks, there has not been great deal of time for a cast and crew to create a whole show. However, this cast is itching to start and give its audience something to laugh about.

Abi Franklin (COL ’19), who plays Chris Gorman, relayed how the organization has been integral in preparing the cast and instilling a readiness in all of them.

“Mask and Bauble has been a really great community, since my first day working here,” Franklin said. “They have a great creative vision and an inclusive space that is great for fostering all sorts of ideas, people and opportunities.”

“Rumors” will be performed at 8 p.m. on Oct. 12, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 21, with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. on Oct. 15. All performances will take place in Poulton Hall, Stage III. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $8 for students and can be purchased online or before the show if any remain available.

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