Tara Enedy, the director of Altoona Community Theatre's upcoming production of the farce "The Fox on the Fairway," wanted her cast to be prepared for anything once they started rehearsing.
"From the very beginning, I tried to set the tone," the 39-year-old Hollidaysburg resident said. "I had them stand up and do goofy things because this show is a very goofy show. So I had them do goofy stuff so that they wouldn't be surprised when they got into it.
"The situations [in the play] are normal, but the reactions are over-sized."
In ACT’s “The Fox on the Fairway,” ace golfer Justin (Jorden Heitkamp) tries to drown his sorrows in alcohol and won’t listen to the pleading of his boss (Rich Volpe) or his boss’s bossy wife (Jennina Pratt).
That kind of performance can be difficult for an actor, says Rich Volpe of Altoona, who plays one of the lead roles in "The Fox on the Fairway."
"It's a farce. There's a lot of running in and out of doors and a lot of misunderstandings," Volpe said. "Someone will say during rehearsals, 'Why did he do that?' And the answer is always, 'It's a farce! It doesn't matter!"
"The Fox on the Fairway," by playwright Ken Ludwig, will be performed at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona at 8 p.m. Thursday and Sept. 21 and 22 and at 2 p.m. Sept. 23.
If you go
What: "The Fox on the Fairway"
When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Sept. 21 and 22 and at 2 p.m. Sept. 23
Where: The Mishler Theatre, Altoona
Tickets: $20 for adults and $15 for students; tickets available by calling 944-9434, online at www. altoonacommunitytheatre.com or in person at the box office
Ludwig, author of previous ACT favorites "Leading Ladies" and "Lend Me a Tenor," debuted "The Fox on the Fairway" in 2010. It follows the directors of the rival Quail Valley and Crouching Squirrel country clubs, who shake hands on a sizeable wager for their next tournament, only to see it all fall to pieces. Volpe, 57, plays Henry Bingham, the witty, cynical head of the Quail Valley club, while George Baumer, 60, of State College plays the sneaky, ruthless director of Crouching Squirrel, Dickie Bell.
The play focuses on the personal lives of Bingham and Bell as they maneuver and plot to win the golf tournament bet.
The dastardly role of Bell was "interesting" to Baumer, who was last seen at ACT in last season's "On Golden Pond."
"He's sort of the antagonist, he's kind of the bad guy, if you will, in the play," he said. "He'll do anything to win the bet. And he's a womanizer.
"Other than that, he's a pretty nice guy," Baumer added with a laugh.
Volpe, a veteran of ACT productions perhaps best known for his starring role as Oscar Madison in the group's 2008 performance of "The Odd Couple," came to the role of Bingham from a very rational place.
"I'd seen a couple of Ken Ludwig's shows and I know his stuff's pretty funny and I enjoy good comedy," he said. "At my age, not a lot of great roles are available. The days of the romantic lead are long gone."
Both Volpe and Baumer say that rehearsals have gone well, but Volpe is anxious to get the production out in front of a live audience.
"Doing comedy is a very interesting process because the first time we do the read-through we laugh a lot," he said. "But after a while the jokes stop being funny and you start to wonder, is this really funny? Or was I crazy five or six weeks ago. ... You get to that point where you really have to have an audience.
"At this point, we're desperate to hear some laughter."
Enedy, also the president of the ACT board of directors, thinks that laughter is coming. So much so, in fact, that after reading the script she decided to make the play her ACT directorial debut.
"I read the script and I was struck by how funny it is," she said. "It's set on a golf course, but it's just universal humor. ... I've been wanting to direct for awhile and this one seemed like an easy one to transition into for the first time for ACT."
The switch from center stage to backstage has been pretty smooth, Enedy explained.
"I have to say, it's been really comfortable," she said. "I've been involved with Altoona Community Theatre for six years or so now [and] I know the cast... it's been really fun and easy.
"When you're able to get funny people in your cast, it makes the job a lot easier."
It's a job she hopes to tackle again. Soon.
"I really hope that I get the opportunity to direct again and again," Enedy said. "This has just been a joy, this whole process. It's a joy to flex a new creative muscle."
And, like Volpe, she can't wait to get the show in front of an audience.
"We've got a series of extraordinarily ugly golf sweaters ready to go," she explained with a big laugh.
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.