Meet Olive Madison: “I love sports, I like to paint. I like photography. I don’t like to clean up. When I got married my wedding dress had CocaCola stains on it.” Separated and man-crazy, more concerned about bringing home the bacon than frying it up in a pan, Olive is the epitome of the word SLOB.
Meet Florence Unger: ” Just you wait. I’ll turn this apartment into something out of Architectural Digest. You’ll see furniture you never knew you had. ” Separated and still missing her “short, hairless cowboy” husband, Florence channels her insecurities about singlehood into cleaning up…. after Olive.
Olive’s big mistake? Allowing Florence to move in. Florence’s big mistake? Underestimating Olive’s frustration. Your big mistake? Missing this hilarious comedy. Get your tickets today!
Aimee Grice is wiping the tears from her eyes. “Sorry, I just can’t go on,” she splutters. “Let me … just … catch my breath.” She’s not crying: Grice is doubled over in a fit of giggles.
Grice is in rehearsal for SOAP’s upcoming production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. In the female version of the famous comedy, the eponymous “Oscar” and “Felix” become the slobby divorcee Olive Madison (played by Grice) and her irritatingly neat roomate Florence Unger (played by Leslee Hatherly). The comedy follows two newly single ladies as they navigate the rules of sharing an apartment and returning to the dating scene.
Grice and Hatherly (at left) are two strong actors, although relative newcomers to SOAP. This is Aimee’s fourth production, after singing in the nuns chorus in The Sound of Music (2008), then taking the lead in Sand Mountain (2009) and an ensemble part in Rumors (2010). Leslee took a small and serious role in this season’s drama, Twelve Angry Jurors, but her comic talents take centre stage in The Odd Couple.
Director Penelope Johnson is taking the cast through one of the funniest scenes in the play: Olive and Florence on a double date with their attractive Spanish neighbours, the Costazuela brothers. Aimee’s shoulders shake as she struggles to remain in character. Waiting patiently for the rehearsal to continue are Tom Szalay (as Monolo Costazuela) and Paul Everest (as Jesus Costazuela). Szalay and Everest have been practicing the Castilian accents and charming manners required for their roles.
“Monolo and I have brrrrought you frrresh flowers and frrresh candy,” says Everest, rolling his Rs. “Please to accept my deep felicitations. We hope you like them. The candy ees … um ….no good.”
“No good?” responds Grice as Olive, trying unsuccessfully not to smile.
“Si. Very chewy,” says Tom as Manolo.
“Do you mean nougat?” says Olive.
“Ah si! Nou–gat! Not ‘no good’… nougat! So stoopid. We are steeell berry new at Engleesh.”
Aimee splutters again. “Sorry,” she says, holding up her hand to call another halt. “It’s too funny, plus I’m soooo tired.” Grice is a new mother, battling sleep deprivation. Her babe-in-arms occasionally joins her at rehearsals. “That’s the deal,” explains Penelope Johnson. “Aimee can perform if I direct while dandling her baby on my knee.”
Also in the cast are Linda Venables, Lynne Richards, Diane Gludovatz and Jen Jensen as the Trivial Pursuit playing girlfriends of Olive and Florence. In the play, the ladies add some “gal pal” humour to the storyline, give advice, and play referees to Olive and Florence’s squabbles over housekeeping and dating. The foursome also act as surrogate moms to Grice’s baby, passing the little girl from knee to knee as they practice their lines.
Grice and Hatherly find they are growing into their characters during the rehearsal period. “Olive is not a stretch for me,” admits Aimee Grice, who revels in the opportunity to make a mess on stage. On the other hand, Leslee Hatherly, as the house-proud Florence, is dicovering her hidden neat freak. “My kitchen at home has never been SO CLEAN. I’m really immersing myself in this character.”
The lead actors are enjoying their time together at rehearsal. “Olive and Florence get quite a workout on stage,” says director Johnson. “The action can get fast and furious.” Lately they have been choreographing a couple of fight scenes (involving a vacuum cleaner, a ladle, a can of deodorizer, and a plate of linguini) and a chase scene (involving a can of pepper spray and a suitcase of lingerie). Curiously enough, Hatherly and Grice find the hilarity and crazy antics at rehearsals an antidote to their busy lives.
The Odd Couple is slated for production on Friday April 29 and Saturday April 30 at the Osoyoos MiniTheatre (OSS), and on Friday May 6 and Saturday May 7 at the Frank Venables Auditorium (SOSS) in Oliver. Tickets are $15 Adults and $12 Seniors/Students. They go on sale at the end of March, through Your Dollar Store with More (Osoyoos), and Sundance Video (Oliver). Watch for posters to indicate the start of ticket sales. More information can be obtained at
After a brief hiatus during the fall, the South Okanagan Amateur Players are back treading the boards this spring with a production of the comedy Rumors by Neil Simon. The prolific and award-winning playwright also penned The Odd Couple and California Suite.
Rumors is set at a posh dinner party to which several of New York’s socialites have been invited. When the first couple arrives, they discover that the hostess is missing along with the household staff, and that their host, the deputy mayor of New York City, has shot himself through the earlobe. Neither host nor hostess makes an onstage appearance during the entire play. As the evening progresses and more dinner guests arrive, wild rumours begin to circulate about their hosts’ marital problems. Comic complications arise when, given everyone’s upper class status, the couples decide they need to conceal the evening’s events from law enforcement and the media. As confusion and miscommunication mount, the evening spins off into classic farce culminating in an hilariously befuddled explanation to the police.
Director Ted Osborne, last at the helm of SOAP’s production of The Sound of Music, is looking for a cast of 10 adults. Four men and four women are needed to play the dinner guests, ranging in age from 30s to early 60s. Two smaller parts are available for the police officers arriving on the scene, one middle-age man and one younger woman. No previous theatrical experience is required.
Production dates are tentatively set for April 8-10 in Osoyoos and April 15-17 in Oliver. Actors must be available for a minimum of two rehearsals a week beginning in mid-January, but times and locations will be negotiated according to cast schedules. Closer to production, rehearsals may increase, as required, to three times per week.
Auditions are on Monday January 11 at the Osoyoos Art Gallery (upstairs) on 8713 Main St., and on Tuesday January 12 at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre, Studio Building, 34274 95th St., Oliver, just south of the Fire Hall. Both auditions run from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. No prepared monologue is necessary. Actors will be reading from the script. Drop-in auditions are welcome, but hopeful actors are encouraged to stay for as much of one evening as possible to work through a variety of roles with other actors.
For more information, or to arrange an alternate audition time, please contact director Ted Osborne. Volunteers who would like to assist backstage with construction, set painting, costumes, or crew, are asked to contact producer Jennifer Mapplebeck. Both can be reached by emailing
SOAP has just come off a successful run of The Sound of Music by Rodgers and Hammerstein in November – December 2008. They broke box office sales records, and had some of the largest audiences in 20 years. Take a look at some photos from the show!
Sister Margaretta, Sister Sophia and the Mother Abbess wonder “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?”
Maria listens to the wisdom of the Mother Abbess.
Maria teaches the von Trapp children “Doe-A Deer” (Do Re Mi). Initially, they are reluctant pupils – that is, until Maria’s charm and gaiety inspires them to sing! Photo by Silvia Badger
Brigitta and Gretl von Trapp in their sailor suits.
So, what’s next for this busy troupe?
The South Okanagan Amateur Players hold auditions for the comedy Sand Mountain by Romulus Linney, a set of two Appalachian folk tales. Auditions will be on Wednesday April 22 at the Sonora Centre in Osoyoos and Thursday April 23 in “Big Blue” at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre in Oliver. Auditions run 7 – 9 p.m. both evenings. Newcomers welcome. No audition piece required. Parts are available for men and women 20 – 60+ years and for one or two children aged 8 – 12 years. Backstage volunteers also required. The production runs during the third week of July at the Tinhorn Creek Winery Amphitheatre. Directors: Penelope Johnson and Diane Gludovatz. For audition information or advance copies of the script: 250-498-0183.
Photos by Penelope Johnson (except where noted above)