Meet the Cast of Reston Community Players’ ‘The Fox on the Fairway’: Part 2: Dina Soltan, David Segal, and Zell Murphy

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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!”

From L to R: David Segal, Kelly Thompson, Zell Murphy, Dina Soltan, Stephanie Walsh, and Bradley Dressler. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.
From L to R: David Segal, Kelly Thompson, Zell Murphy, Dina Soltan, Stephanie Walsh, and Bradley Dressler. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

In Part TWO, we meet Dina Soltan, David Segal, and Zell Murphy.

Introduce yourself to our readers, and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on our local stages.  

Dina Soltan. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.
Dina Soltan (Pamela Peabody). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

Dina Soltan: Most people know me as Dina Soltan, however in this play I go by Pamela Peabody. This is the character I play in Fox on the Fairway, and I love her witty lines and her sophistication! I’m pretty new to the DMV area so I’ve only been in one other play since moving here in August 2014, and that was in The Games Afoot as Daria Chase in which I was honored as “Best Featured Actress in a play” by DCMetroTheaterArts. When I’m not on stage I love reading and spending some quality time with family and friends. Before I got into community theatre I was working towards being a psychologist. I am still unsure of which career path to choose. I honestly can’t think of anything better than being in theatre. 

David Segal: My name is David Segal and I have the pleasure of portraying Dickie Bell, the Director of Crouching Squirrel Golf and Raquet Club: I am the obnoxious one! Some people might say that is type casting, but I just see it as another acting challenge! I have been active in community theater in Northern Virginia for about the past 25 years, portraying characters as diverse as Cogsworth in RCP’s Beauty and the Beast, for which I received a WATCH nomination, and the Father in Equus, performed with Taking Flight Theater Co in 2013. I am happily retired from Fairfax County Public Schools after a 30 year career as a Foreign Language teacher turned Technology Training Specialist. I keep busy with a small photography business (davidsegalphotography) and occasional acting gigs. I also find modeling jobs with local portrait artists and art classes and Open Draw sessions.

Zell Murphy: Hello, my name is Zell Murphy, and I am playing the role of Dickie Bell n Fox on the Fairway.  I love live theater, and I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in some aspect of theater (whether on stage, backstage, and even working on the administrative/financial side) for the past twenty-five years. My day job is also in the “entertainment” industry. I’m the Chief Financial Officer at the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing serving the cable television industry. When I’m not “on stage,” I love to travel and see the world as much as possible. That’s actually my favorite hobby/pastime. Last year, I traveled to Asia for the first time and got to visit Japan, Thailand, and Singapore. This summer, I’m heading to Eastern Europe and will spend two weeks in Bulgaria (my mother’s birthplace) and Dubrovnik, Croatia. I’m always looking for suggestions of great places to visit around the globe. 

What drew you to The Fox on the Fairway?

Dina: What really drew me to audition for this play, is that I truly enjoy working on plays written by Ken Ludwig! I love the witty lines and insanely comic situations that he drops his characters in, and I am so excited to have been cast in this play! Rehearsal period was insanely fun!

David: I love comedy and fast paced comedy is so challenging. I had the pleasure of doing Lend Me a Tenor in Vienna some years ago, so I am familiar with Ken Ludwig’s style, and am always impressed by his use of language and double-entendre. This show is FILLED with subtle in-jokes and semi-obscure references that make you think,  “mmmm…that is interesting…” And The Fox on the Fairway is so funny!

Zell Murphy and Dina Soltan. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.
David Siegel and  Kelly Thompson. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

Zell: I love the frantic pacing of a farce and sharing the stage with a bunch of people when all hell is breaking loose. It is fun to watch, and it’s even more fun to be part of the frenetic pace. Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway moves from one wacky situation after another. Hopefully, the audience will get great pleasure watching all of the craziness unfold.

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?

Dina: I play Pamela Peabody who’s an insanely sophisticated woman, with an impeccable taste in fashion. She’s part of the executive committee of the Quail Valley golf club where this play takes place. I have to admit at first it was pretty difficult relating to this character as Pamela is 39 years old with three failed marriages and is a board member at a prestigious golfing club. I am currently 27 years old, with no failed marriages as of yet, and I am currently unemployed so I have no idea what it would be like doing Pamela’s job. After some time getting to know Pamela’s motivations and emotions it got easier! I especially relate to her sense of commitment to winning and her hard work to making sure that everything works out in the end. What I love most about Pamela is her confidence. What I like least about her is that she’s a borderline alcoholic!

David: I play Dickie Bell, who is not the most likeable character in the show, but certainly the most quirky! His constant malapropisms and seeming stupidity make him a really laughable guy!  He is certainly insensitive and sexist—two seemingly negative qualities, but both of which add to his comedic persona. And he is the ladies man that I think I may have been in my youth..but that is another story!

 Zell Murphy and Dina Soltan. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.
Zell Murphy and Dina Soltan. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

Zell: I play Henry Bingham, the director of Quail Valley Golf and Country Club. Henry is a pretty serious-minded and uptight guy who, deep down, wants to experience some “wild fun and adventure” in his life. I think a lot of people think of me as very serious minded and a little uptight. But, unlike Henry, it doesn’t take alcohol to bring out my wild side (wink). What do I like least about Henry? I guess the fact that he, quite often, uses his position and power to intimidate people. I’m not cool with that.

What is your favorite line in the show (yours or somebody else’s)?

Dina: My favorite line for Pamela is when she turns to Dickie (her ex-husband) while he’s wearing one of his awful sweaters and greets him with: “Did you have to kill it, or did it crawl onto your chest and just give up?” My favorite line for a fellow character is Henry Bingham’s line: “The state of marriage. I believe it’s located above Alaska. Same climate, but in my case there’s no drilling allowed.”

David Segal (Dickie Bell). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.
David Segal (Dickie Bell). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

David: There are so many. But I love Louise’s one line….”Granny’s” when she is horrified that she has lost the wedding ring…she gives it so wonderfully, one word filled with emotion and meaning, and always perfectly timed and rendered!

Zell: I think my favorite line is when Pamela says to Dickie:”Oh please, if I ever sent you a package in brown paper it would be ticking.” I love that line purely for its dark humor. You see, I do have an evil side.

What advice and suggestions has Adam given you that are helping you prepare for your role?

Dina: All of Adam’s advice and input were integral to my development of Pamela, however the advice that really helped me the most was when he reminded me that this play is a farce and everything has to be bigger and bolder. That because it’s a farce, the focus is more on the comical situations that the characters find themselves in, not particularly the emotional journey of the characters. This really helped me place my focus and attention on where it should be.

David: I decided that Dickie sounded like a southern fellow, so I have been playing with an accent. Adam challenged me to make him a “character” and not a “caricature,” to make the person believable but not to have the accent distract from that believability. I hope I have pulled it off…I think in the 7 performances, he will be a little different from one to the other-but always obnoxious, a bit swarmy and always funny!

Zell: That pacing and clarity are critical in a farce. You have to keep things moving, but you can’t go too fast; otherwise you’ll lose the audience.  It’s a challenge to achieve that important balance. 

What is your favorite scene in the show that you are in and why?

Dina: My favorite scene is Act 2, Scene 1, where Pamela really finds herself in the limelight in an extremely embarrassing and funny situation. The microphone remains on, while she is having quite an intimate conversation with another character.

David: Every one of course! Whenever Dickie enters, he slows down the chaos to moments of tension and even anger… I guess my favorite is my little interaction with Muriel when I realize she is after me, not because she loves me, but because she wants to use me to keep her antique shop. I have the epiphany that my charm might actually get me in some deep trouble!

Zell Murphy (Henry Bingham).
Zell Murphy (Henry Bingham). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

Zell: The couch scene with Pamela once we discover that the microphone is “on.” Enough said. 

What is your favorite scene in the show that you are NOT in?

Dina: I am in all of the scenes (not much of a break for me) but my favorite has to be in Act 2, Scene 2 where Justin comes in hopped up on pain medication.

David: I love the scene where Louise realizes she has lost Granny’s ring and lets Justin know. Stephanie and Bradley really rock it!

Zell: Watching Louise fall apart when she tells Pamela that she has lost her engagement ring. That scene is hilarious. I’ve seen it numerous times, and I still burst out laughing.

What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?

Dina: This is an amazing cast! What I love most is that every single cast member has such a wonderfully comic streak about them that it makes this play terribly funny.

David: They have all done a great job in developing their own character and staying in character. From Bingham’s blah-ness to Muriel’s nastiness, they all work so hard! It is special to be in a small show where everyone is so solid and consistent.

Zell: We’re all working hard, we’re having fun, and we’re super committed to putting on the best performance possible. And we want the audience to have as much fun as we’re having. 

From L to R: David Segal, Dina Soltan, Zell Murphy, Bradley Dressler, Stephanie Walsh, and Kelly Thompson. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.
From L to R: David Segal, Dina Soltan, Zell Murphy, Bradley Dressler, Stephanie Walsh, and Kelly Thompson. Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

What makes The Fox on the Fairway special or unique?

Dina: What makes this play so unique is that the cast is so terribly funny, that it’s a joy to watch and to be a part of.

David: It is consistently fast faced and funny…timing is so crucial in comedy, and Ludwig writes it so well. As an actor, you have to be on your toes constantly. The chaos scenes are truly wonderful and our director, Adam, does an exemplary job of keeping them from falling into insanity. After all, the audience has to be able to follow what is happening, otherwise you just have a bunch of crazy actors running around the stage!

Zell: Ken Ludwig is like the modern day Neil Simon. His writing is modern, crisp, quick-witted, hilarious, and, believe it or not, relatable to a certain extent.  We have all experienced miscommunications, mistaken identities, missed opportunities, and extremely embarrassing situations. You don’t have to play golf to appreciate The Fox on The Fairway. 

What do you hope audiences take away from seeing The Fox on the Fairway?

Dina: I really hope the audience walks away with 2 hours of joy and laughter at all of the characters’ expense.

David: A lot of smile lines and happy memories of fun, memorable characters…and a few lines, if possible!

Zell: I know this sounds so cliché, but I hope audience members leave the theater with a big smile on their faces and recounting the scenes where they laughed the hardest. I want fun to be had by all.

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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.

LINK:
Meet the Cast of Reston Community Players’ ‘The Fox on the Fairway’: Part 1: Stephanie Walsh, Kelly Thompson, & Bradley Dresser.