Absurd Person Singular
December 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 2008

JaneBecki Wenhold
SidneyDouglas Rau
RonaldGene Connelly
MarionCindy "Syd" Stauffer
EvaErin Williams
GeoffreyFlemming Erik Carlson
Production Staff
DirectorGary Boyer
Stage ManagerLynn Romano
Set Design/ConstructionRalph Montesano
Lighting DesignDan Lewis
Costume DesignBrenda McGuire

Cast Photos
Click on any image for a larger version, if available.


Fast-paced 'Absurd Person Singular' is comical fare

By Myra Yellin Outwater
Special to The Morning Call
December 9, 2008

British playwright Alan Ayckbourn's ''Absurd Person Singular,'' now at the Pennsylvania Playhouse, is a comic look at the foibles and interactions between three very different English couples at three cocktail parties on three consecutive Christmas Eves. The challenge is that the action takes place in three different kitchens and the Playhouse stage is very small. But set designer Ralph Montesano has done a remarkable job building three kitchen sets and placing them on a rotating turntable.

The plot requires fast action, quick dialogue and a lot of misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Director Gary Boyer has maintained a good pace and his actors manage their entrances and exits and interrupt each other with spot on timing.

Cindy Stauffer plays Marion, an increasingly tipsy, monied and bored wife. Stauffer tosses off asides with a wicked glee and livens up the action with her sarcastic comments.

Gene Connolly, who plays Marion's banker husband, Ronald, is a good foil for his wife's drunken behavior.

Flemming Erik Carlson's height and imposing physical presence add to his portrayal of Geoffrey, the arrogant and unfaithful husband of a neurotic wife. Unfortunately Erin Williams-Frack, who plays Geoffrey's wife, Eva, overplays her diva role, and then underplays her desperation.

Douglas Rau grows into the role of Sidney, a fawning, obsequious man who somehow manages to succeed in business. Rebecca Wenhold plays Sidney's wife, Jane, who never manages to shed her lower class origins. Wenhold's portrayal becomes somewhat tedious, but is very funny when she disappears outside in the rain and gets locked out.

In the end, Boyer has created a funny production.

''Absurd Person Singular,'' 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, through Dec. 21, Pennsylvania Playhouse, Illick's Mill Road, Bethlehem. Tickets: $20; $17, seniors and students on Friday and Sunday. 610-865-6665,

Myra Yellin Outwater is a freelance writer.

Jodi Duckett,
Assistant Features Editor

Town and Country Theater Review
by Linda Quinby
Pennsylvania Playhouse, "Absurd Person Singular"

     The season of joy and cheer is upon us and Pennsylvania Playhouse is staging a holiday-themed play that might surprise you. Think of your most hectic, unpleasant Christmas Eve memories, compound them and watch three couples as they live through disastrous events leading up to the holiday celebration. I say "disastrous" because, for each of the couples, dismay and confusion occur during one of three successive years and in one of three homes.
     Disasters aside, the play is very funny as it weaves through the couples' ups and downs, prosperity and poverty, trouble and happiness. The struggling Hopcrofts, played by Douglas Rau and Rebecca Wenhold, gain everyone's sympathy as their modest home becomes a place of ridicule from the architect and banker and their wives. It's funny how prosperity and independence prove fickle and circumstances twist unexpectedly as status and security change dramatically throughout the performance.
     The comedy closely parallels the current economic situation facing our nation and world, curiously for a play written years ago. Good financial fortune seems elusive and affluence can suddenly disappears from the portfolios of even the most privileged and rich people. Quality of life can change in a split second when wealth and position are measured strictly by dollars and cents.
     The kitchen sets are interesting and work very well with the action. The three different kitchens of the couples, each indicative of their affluence, or lack of it, are arranged in a pie graph configuration with each act and set dividing the pie in thirds. Two stage crew members swivel the "pie" and arrange the furnishings and other props quickly and efficiently. It was so impressive that the audience applauded for the stage crew as the transformations were completed between acts. Ralph Montesano designed the versatile set with flair. The practicality and workability of the scenes is remarkable.
     Director Gary Boyer makes his directorial debut at Pennsylvania Playhouse with "Absurd Person Singular." With the help of a competent cast, amazing stage and set and a reputation of the theater's outstanding professionalism, Boyer has already made his mark by developing the show on the stage. It would be nice to see more direction talent from him in the future.
     For a unique, surprising look at the holiday season from another viewpoint, plan to see "Absurd Person Singular" at the Pennsylvania Playhouse in Bethlehem. Remaining dates are Dec. 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21. The venue is conveniently located just minutes from Lehigh International Airport. The event could be combined with a cruise through Bethlehem's beautiful streets for a lovely look at thousands of tiny white holiday lights and decorations. Call 610.865.6665 for reservations. Tickets are $20 with discounts for seniors and students.

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