The award-winning Reston Community Players are proud to bring Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway back to the DC Metro area April 24-May 3, 2015. The stuffy atmosphere of a private golf club is the perfect setting for Ludwig’s madcap adventure featuring mistaken identities, slamming doors, and hysterical hi-jinx. The Washington Examiner stated, “Ken Ludwig has a wicked sense of comedic anarchy, giving his characters such zany idiosyncrasies that they soar to dizzying heights!”
In Part One, we meet Stephanie Walsh, Kelly Thompson, and Bradley Dressler, who play a dimwitted waitress, a domineering wife, and a bumbling assistant in the farcical and fast-paced The Fox On The Fairway.
Please introduce yourself to our readers. What character you are playing and/or what is your role in the production?
Stephanie Walsh: My name is Stephanie Walsh and I play Louise Heindbedder in Louise Heindbedder. This is my first show with the RCP. I have been acting since I was 14 (in my first show, I was a playing card in Alice in Wonderland). I graduated from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA majoring in education and minoring in theatre. Some of my favorite previous roles have been Juliet, Romeo and Juliet; Antoinette, A Flea in Her Ear; Lydia Lansing, Shakespeare in Hollywood, and Tzeitel, Fiddler on the Roof. I am a first grade teacher for Loudoun County and when I’m not working or acting, I like to run, walk my dog (a German Shepherd named Ava), and binge watch shows on Netflix.
Kelly Thompson: My name is Kelly Thompson, and I play the role of Muriel Bingham, the wife of the director of the Quail Valley Country Club. Last time I was onstage for RCP was for the 2009 production of Brooklyn Boy, and I am currently one of the WATCH judges that represents RCP. Off stage, I do some contract work in course design and facilitation and do a little voiceover work as well. I have a loving and very patient husband, two teenaged boys, and two dogs.
Bradley Dressler: Hi, my name is Bradley Dressler. I will be playing the role of Justin Hicks. I have a BA in theatre and I am currently in NOVA’s nursing program. This is my first production with the Reston Community Players.
What drew you to The Fox on the Fairway?
Stephanie: I was in Shakespeare in Hollywood, another Ludwig play, and had such a great time working on it. Farce can be really fun to do because you are basically playing a caricature of a person. This show also reminded me of the classic movie Caddyshack. I grew up watching that movie and was excited to be in a farce set around golf.
Kelly: I am always drawn to comedy. I mean, who couldn’t use a few more laughs in their lives? The Fox on the Fairway has some VERY funny moments!
Bradley: Funny story actually. I had a lighter course load this semester and was just looking to get involved as a fun pastime, maybe help build or paint some sets. However, I couldn’t find anyone to contact on the website about what I was looking for, but I saw they were holding auditions. I figured there would be someone there that I could talk to. I showed up and on the audition form where they asked if you weren’t cast would you be interested in volunteering? I checked every box they had. I finally got an email saying would I like to be in the run crew. Then, I got another email offering me the role of Justin. Basically, in one weekend, I went from getting my foot in the door to being onstage.
Who do you play in the show and how do you relate to your character? What do you like most about your character? What do you like least about your character?
Stephanie: I play Louise who is this very sweet and dim waitress at the country club. I love how Loiuse goes from one extreme to another. She lives in this adorable little world, but when something gets thrown off, she kind of has little meltdowns. There’s not really much I don’t like about her. She is fun to portray and I think it would be fun to live in her little world for just a bit.
Kelly: I play Muriel Bingham, a rather overbearing stern woman. She is strong-willed, and I can relate to that. On the flip side, the fact that she kind of “bulldozes” over everyone isn’t a very effective strategy for getting her way.
Bradley: I play Justin Hicks, Mr. Bingham’s new assistant and Louise’s boyfriend. I’m not sure I have too much in common with him. He’s a little dopy, and overreacts to a lot of stuff. But he is sweet, and Lousie is sweet, and they make a great couple.
What is your favorite line in the show (yours or somebody else’s) and why?
Stephanie: I love the line when Dickie and Muriel are talking about their first date when they went to see a documentary on the Luftwaffe. It is just so random–makes me laugh every time.
Kelly: I don’t have a particular line that is my favorite, just certain exchanges. The exchange between Louise and Justin about “Granny’s Ring” is funny. Also, the exchange between Bingham and Pamela and the microphone makes me laugh every time I hear it.
Bradley: I like Pamela and Bingham’s exchange: “Pamela: Drink? Bingham: At 10:15 in the morning? Pamela: I know, I got a late start. I feel it is perfectly her character, as well as an indicator of the amount of alcohol everyone consumes over the course of the play.
What advice and suggestions has Director Adam Konowe given you that are helping you prepare for your role?
Stephanie: Adam really wanted us to make the characters our own and asked us to really think about things they would do or mannerisms they would have. It’s nice to have that freedom because it makes finding the character that much easier for the actor.
Kelly: For all of us, making sure we don’t rush through lines too quickly. Farce moves quickly, but the audience still needs to have time to understand what is happening and where their attention should go.
Bradley: Adam has really helped us with the physical comedy aspects. With farce, it’s not just about the lines, it’s about what else is going on with the characters. It’s about the blocking that makes it come together, like instead of walking across the floor, walk over the couch. Makes it funnier.
What is your favorite scene in the show that you are in and why?
Stephanie: (spoilers) The crying scene after I lose my engagement ring. It’s just so wonderful and over the top.
Kelly: The scene I have with Dickie to try to convince him to call off the bet would be my favorite because my character gets to show a little more of her softer side (what there is of it).
Bradley: My favorite scene is my stage combat where Bingham is choking me. I open my mouth, roll my eyes up, and just shake back and forth. It’s so much fun.
What is your favorite scene in the show that you are NOT in and why?
Stephanie: The scenes with Bingham and Dickie always make me laugh. Farcical tension is always entertaining to me.
Kelly: It has to be Bingham and Pamela and the microphone. It is corny, but as I mentioned before, it makes me laugh! It has a real I Love Lucy feel to it.
Bradley: I like the scene where Bingham is confessing his love to Pamela without knowing the microphone is on. I think it is the funniest scene in the whole play and it looks like Zell has a lot of fun with it.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
Stephanie: I love the energy everyone brings to the table! I remember during out first read through everyone was so nice and welcoming. We really bonded right from the get and it has made the experience of working on the show really enjoyable.
Kelly Thompson: They are all very funny in their roles, and that’s exactly what this production calls for!
Bradley: I like how they’ve been finding interesting little things to do that really make their characters. It’s not always the big things, sometimes a small action can say volumes.
What makes RCPs production of The Fox on the Fairway special or unique?
Stephanie: I think a stereotype of country clubs is that they are these stuffy places where rich men in their cardigans walk around sipping scotch. The people in this play couldn’t be farther away from that if they tried. Just seeing them in that setting is funny enough, and then add their problems into the mix, and you’ve got yourself some good entertainment.
Kelly: It is special, because while the premise is very simple, there are numerous elements that need to come together like puzzle pieces in the end, and they absolutely do.
Bradley: I think it’s the way that so many things come together, but it’s not overwhelming. I mean, there is a lot of information presented and plenty of plot twists to keep you spinning. However, I don’t think anyone seeing the show for the first time will get lost.
What do you hope audiences take away from seeing The Fox on the Fairway?
Stephanie: I hope they enjoy themselves. The great thing about farce it that it is there to make you laugh. Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and relax for a bit and have a good chuckle.
Kelly: I hope people leave the theatre having had some solid belly laughs!
Bradley: I hope they laugh, I hope they cringe, I hope they have a wonderful evening. Above all, I hope we remind them that local theatre is wonderful.
The Fox on the Fairway plays from April 24-May 9, 2015 at Reston Community Players performing at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center – 2310 Colts Neck Road, in Reston, VA. CenterStage is handicap accessible and offers listening devices for the hearing impaired. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 476-4500 x 3, or purchase them online.
Performances are on April 24 and 25 and May 1, 2, 8, and 9, 2015 at 8:00 p.m., with a 2:00 p.m. matinees on May 3, 2015. The performance on May 1, 2015 will be a sign language interpreted performance.