SELMA – Selma High’s Drama Department is staging the Neil Simon farce “Rumors” next month. Although the topic of gossip isn’t normally comical, the young actors say the situation the characters find themselves in is a good spring board to think about how hurtful whispered half-truths can be.
English teacher Brynn Saponara is the adviser and said the story involves a group of middle-aged friends who gather for two of their friend’s anniversary party. The guests show up but quickly realize their friends are missing.
“Then it’s chaos from there and a lot of rumors start because they don’t know what’s going on,” Saponara said. “They start to guess and fabricate the story about why one of their friends is missing and why one of their other friends has a bullet hole through their ear.”
Drama students pick each year’s show and Saponara chose this comedy to change the pace from the previous year’s more dramatic production.
“We pick the plays together. We try to spread it out every year and do something different.”
The students also wanted to explore the theme in the play where rumors and half-truths get out of hand.
“Being in high school, they experience that on the campus. So they thought it would be an interesting play.”
“Rumors” runs from Nov. 2-5 and will be performed at the Selma Arts Center. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for students with ID and will be sold at the door.
Among the ensemble are Mariah Lopez in the role of Cassie Cooper, Daniel Acevedo as Lenny Ganz and Cassandra Cabral as Chris Gorman. The student actors say they can relate to the predicament of having rumors creating more drama than necessary in real life.
“My character feels very insecure because she thinks her husband is cheating on her,” Lopez said. “She acts out and is very angry at him. In turn, she flirts with the other men at the other party to make him jealous. She’s very out there and upset and wants to start a scene. She’s drama.”
Acevedo says he thinks the play is very true to life and shows just how much a rumor can get out of hand.
“You’ll hear people talking and you just assume these things are true until you see otherwise or have evidence. And even then, you make your own assumptions and tell other people that. That what leads to so much trouble and gets so many people into hot water.”
Lopez says the show is still comedic since it leaves audience members wonder just what is and isn’t true.
“It’s a comedy because these rumors are so crazy and then at the end it’s like wait, but is some of it true? We make up these big ol’ stories not thinking it could actually be true.”
Acevedo says throughout the play you hear other characters’ accounts and have to decide for yourself what’s really going on.
“You always have to find out the truth for yourself. In the end, even a guess might be right but you never know until you get the full story from the person the rumor is about.”
Acevedo describes his character as a sarcastic man who makes light of the situation to alieve the tension.
“I believe he understands the full weight of the situation but makes light of it in spite of it. He suffers from whiplash in a car accident right before the party and can’t move his neck. This makes him more irritable and more likely to snap. He’s dealt with a lot tonight and he was just expecting a party.”
Cabral describes her character Chris Gorman as sort of an air-head.
“She really loves her husband and doesn’t expect for all of this to happen. She just wanted to come to the party and enjoy it. She’s angry that they got there first and everything’s piling up on her and her husband.”
Cabral said part of the reason she likes acting it to take on the role of another character.
“It’s like being someone else. It’s great to be someone else and be out of my comfort zone.”
Lopez encourages the community to come out to their show and support home-grown talent.
“It’s good to support young actors in the purest form of acting to where we mess up and we laugh and just have to go with it. It’s good for the community to support their local artists and to see our growth. Hopefully, one day we’ll be on stage and people will say ‘that girl or guy is from our hometown and from the Valley.’ They’ll be pleasantly surprised by the talent we have here in our little town.”