High Tide takes on ‘The Odd Couple’

Published 11:06 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Despite a few set backs, including multiple cast changes and last minute rehearsal schedule conflicts, High Tide Productions will roll in as planned with both the female and male versions of “The Odd Couple,” by Neil Simon.

This weekend, the Picayune Memorial High School drama troupe will perform the two shows back-to-back. On Friday, May 1, Florence and Olive will hit the stage for the female version of the classic comedy, while Felix and Oscar — two characters made famous by the preceding television sitcom “The Odd Couple” in the early 1970s — will entertain audiences on Saturday, May 2. Both shows will take place at the Picayune School District Auditorium.

While the shows have been in rehearsals, on and off, over the past two and a half to three months, drama teacher William “Bill” Rester said the production has suffered a high turnover rate with the cast. Losing the Florence character at the last minute has meant that Abbie Woolridge, assistant drama teacher, not only has the job of directing the female version but will now also play Florence, a lead role of the show.

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One of the other major setbacks for the production was a lack of consistent rehearsal space due to scheduling conflicts with the Auditorium. Rester said he reserved the Auditorium for this entire week so both casts could rehearse on set but the shows were pushed out of their time slots a couple of those nights for other events.

Last Monday the casts had to rush through both scripts to get in a their respective rehearsals, with only the female cast being able to use the stage — the men did their run through in the Auditorium’s lobby. Rester’s original schedule called for both casts to get a full rehearsal on the stage that evening.

Even with all the drama surrounding the production, Rester still appeared confident about his casts’ ability to deliver two high quality performances. “They’ll pull it together, they always do,” he said of his players. He said he hopes to fill the auditorium for them on both nights.

“We’ve got a lot of talent.” Rester has watched his students grow as actors throughout the year.

The female cast includes: Woolridge as Florence, Ashlyn Watts as Olive, Jessica Harvey as Sylvie, Alex Parker as Mickey, Kate Thompson as Renee, Bobbie Moore as Vera, Kaleb Bailey as Manolo and Matthew Germenis as Jesus.

The male cast includes: Jason Piglia as Felix, Isaiah Quiroz as Oscar, Taylor Wagner as Speed, Aaron Carroll as Murray, Justin Locklear as Roy, Will Bird as Vinnie, Katelyn Archer as Gwendolyn and Harley Murphy as Cecily.

Rester said he chose the two plays specifically for casting purposes. The bigger cast list meant more roles for his students, some of whom are high school seniors and will be performing with PMHS for the final time with this show.

Don’t miss your opportunity to see “The Odd Couple” by High Tide Productions with the female version taking place on Friday, May 1 and male version on Saturday, May 2 at the Picayune School District Auditorium. Curtain time is 7 p.m. for both shows. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door on the evening of the performances.