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Farce in the making

May 14, 2011
By Cindy Votruba (cvotruba@marshallindependent.com) , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - It's a show where the actors have a say on how it should go.

The Marshall Area Stage Company is presenting "The Value of a Dollar," an original play written by Jim Radloff of Lynd, at 7 p.m. May 20-21 and 2 p.m. May 22 in the basement of the Marshall-Lyon County Library. Radloff is also directing the show.

Radloff described "The Value of a Dollar" as "somewhere between a romantic comedy movie and a sitcom."

"I wanted to shoot for a farce because I like farces," Radloff said. "The cast has mentioned similarities between this show and certain movies or TV shows, but they are mostly things I haven't seen."

He said the original plot came from a random story idea he had back in 2005-2006.

"I had an idea about a guy who had to find this dollar that was pretty much the opposite of a 'bad penny,' where instead of constantly being there, it was just outside his grasp," Radloff said. "But then I got involved with other shows and forgot about it until about a year and a half ago."

Paula Nemes, vice president of the MASC board, said it's a new venture for MASC.

"We haven't done this kind of thing before,"?Nemes said. "It's a great opportunity to try something different, to give someone new a chance to do something creative."

Radloff had the idea of having the people he cast supply their input into the script, starting the process in the fall. He said a few minor characters were added since his original, and he and the cast really changed the relationships between a few of the characters. The set changed as well, he said.

"When I first started putting the script to paper, I planned to use a set of movable flats (for the stage), like (MASC) did for 'Clue,'" Radloff said. "But when we got a look at the library basement, I realized we needed to do a basement set. There were also going to be a few more scenes, but I didn't want to do too many scene changes. We managed to get all of the important things moved around though."

Radloff wanted to make the show a writers' workshop to make the plot more coherent and partly to improve the dialogue.

"There have been a few times when people have said 'my character would never do that' or made a sarcastic comment which made it into the final cut," Radloff said. "I think it helps people understand their characters if they have some input about them. A lot of stage direction has come from the cast."

Bob Schwoch, one of the actors in the show, said dialogue and actions have changed since Radloff's original script, but it hasn't strayed too far from the starting concept.

"It's still farcical in nature,"?Schwoch said.

What he likes about putting together this show, Radloff said, is that it's something new for MASC.

"Every few years, we do something else new and different and see how it works," Radloff said. "I started acting 10 years ago, and since I?joined MASC, we've done a reader's theater, five radio dramas, Shakespeare in the Park, summer musicals, dinner theater and we've traveled with shows, as far as Alexandria. We do a lot of new and exciting things, and it's fun to be a part of that.

"And of course, it's nice to be able to work with the library. It's been very important to me over the years, and it's nice that we can help them by raising funds for the new children's section." The show is accepting a free-will donation, half of which goes to the new library.

 
 

 

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