At one point in our lives, almost all of us have heard the saying: “A drunk mind speaks a sober heart.”
When playwright Neil Simon was imagining the plot for his play, “The Odd Couple,” he found inspiration in this phenomena.
He said, “I thought, wouldn’t it be great to write characters that are funny as drunks, but are not drunk? In other words, bring out the outrageousness of them.
“And, the only way you can do that is put them in such a tight corner that they have to say what’s really on their minds.”
Simon originally wrote the play for an all-male cast, but later rewrote it with female leads instead.
Director Karen Gygli, associate professor of theater in the Tim Russert Department of Communication and Theatre Arts, and assistant director senior Chris Kent, directed Simon’s female version of “The Odd Couple.”
As in Simon’s remake of the play, Gygli and Kent selected a well-rounded cast of funny women.
Sophomore Caitlin Salvino, playing free-spirited Olive, and senior Alex Kwit, as uptight Florence, light up the stage with quick banter and opposing personalities.
As the plot unfurls, the living arrangements between Olive and Flo quickly go up in flames.
Their relationship as roommates is both realistic and comical – especially for college students who can relate all too well to living with a new person.
Sophomore Becky Barsa and freshman Katie Neary nearly steal the show, – despite their limited appearances onstage.
Barsa’s character Sylvia, with a prickly, yet lovable, disposition similar to Ouiser Boudreaux from “Steel Magnolias,” has little patience for Neary’s ditzy and naïve character, Vera.
Sylvia’s sharp wit and even sharper facial expressions balance Vera’s air-headed comments and questions.
The two characters make the most of Neil Simon’s one-liners that keep the audience on their toes for the entirety of their time on stage.
Sophomore Veronica Zielinski and freshman Maria Natalia Sikombe round out the cast of female friends with their sweet and sassy personalities.
While the majority of the cast is played by a powerful lineup of females, the two male characters, brothers Manolo and Jesus Costazuela, reenergize the play in the beginning of the second act.
Portrayed by junior Nico Zahniser and freshman Dylan Regan, the two men quickly befriend Olive and Flo during a memorable dinner party hosted by the two women.
Overall, this production is both relevant and humorous. The quirky production provides laughter while exploring the depths of “outrageousness” a character will display when facing a difficult situation.
If you were unable to attend John Carroll University’s production of “The Odd Couple” this past weekend, the show runs for another three days: Friday, Oct. 31 and Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. in Kulas Auditorium.