2007-11-02 / Columnists

On The Beach

'Inspecting Carol' Opens At Post Theatre
Commentary By Beverly Baxter

BEVERLY BAXTER BEVERLY BAXTER It has been my experience that just about anyone, if they can get to a point where they can suspend themselves from their own selfconsciousness, can act; but only hilarious people can be truly hilarious on stage. Such are these twelve actors who open the holiday season at The Post Theatre in The Rockaway Theatre Company's production of "Inspecting Carol".

Written by Daniel Sullivan and first performed in 1991 at The Seattle Repertory Company, "Inspecting Carol" is a side-splitting farce boasting the best comedic actors of the RTC ensemble. While the play was chosen for its holiday theme, it was also selected for its lack of visibility with mainstream audiences. Several RTC members saw its production at The St. George Playhouse; and although they couldn't recall exactly what the play was about, all they could remember was laughing till it hurt.

Directed by the brilliant three-time collaboration of Peggy Page and Michael Wotypka, the comedic staging and characterizations are intricately delightful. The two have collaborated together since the RTC's 2002 production of "The Pajama Game" and theirs has been a theatrical magnetism ever since!

The play itself mirrors a typically struggling community theatre group whose very existence is dependent upon grants, in this case, from The National Endowment for the Arts. The farce unfolds as an unassuming wannabe actor Wayne Wellacre, played by David Risley, stumbles into a rehearsal and the cast members mistake him for the Inspector from the NEA. What unfolds is pure farcical mayhem.

The cast includes the amazing Susan Corning, Helen Berman, Steven Peithman, Lori Santopetro, Rob Fahn, Jai Sada, Chazmond Peacock, Catherine McEntee, Nicholas Compagnone, James Francis and Rob Press, whose performances are reminiscent of the slapstick form. The role of the Inspector is revealed in special cameo performances by well-known community personalities.

No production is ever mounted without the technical and design artistry of veteran RTC Costume Designer Peggy Vivino; Lighting Designer, Andrew Woodbridge; Lighting Technicians Anna DeSiderio, and Joseph Lopez; and Tony Cuccia, Sound Technician. Of course no stage would be properly set or propped without Tony Homsey, who always does a masterful job; and James Cantirino and his crew, who provide the set decoration.

The show opens tonight, Friday November 2 and runs through November 17.

Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees on November 4 and 11 at 2 p.m. Call the RTC Box Office for tickets. See the ad in this week's Wave.

***There will be a special screening and discussion of the noted documentary, "The Bungalows of Rockaway", at The Museum of the City of New York on Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 pm. Directed by Jennifer Callahan and produced by Elizabeth Logan Harris, the documentary-in-progress depicts the evolution of the bungalow as a cultural icon and art form. There will be a slide presentation by Dr. Anthony King, an architectural and social historian, as well as noted expert on the form. Dr. King will discuss his book, "The Bungalow: The Production of a Global Culture" (Routledge, 1984).

Architectural journalist Eve Kahn will moderate a panel discussion featuring Jill Eisenstadt, author of the novel, "From Rockaway" (Knopf, 1987) and urban architectural historian and author Andrew Dolkart.

Opening remarks will be made by NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

It promises to be an intriguing evening for anyone. The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220 Fifth Avenue at 104 Street. Visit MCNY.org for tickets. I hope to see you there!

***Happy Birthday wishes to my dear friends Rosemary Sullivan Murphy and the enchantingly masterful Kevin Breslin!

***And don't forget....to shop till you drop this holiday season at the annual Liz Smith Shopping Extravaganza, which will be held on Thursday November 15 at the Knights of Columbus. There you will find one-of-a-kind pieces to give to all on your holiday list.

***A special note of sincere thanks to Carol at The Snug Harbor. As always, you are wonderful!

***See you On The Beach!

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