We are just 2 WEEKS away from opening night of Michael Hollinger’s Red Herring. With rehearsals well underway, I was fortunate enough to steal some valuable time from a few of the cast members to ask them their thoughts on their characters and the show. Check out their thoughts below and don't forget to purchase your tickets before it's too late! [Red Herring also features Mary Rose Thomas, who will make her Bobcat debut but was unavailable for this interview.]
Rebecca Hetzell: Please provide our readers with an introduction of yourself! Who do you play in Red Herring and how you relate to the character?
Jessica Boothe: I am a Senior at Robert Morris University majoring in Communication with a concentration in Theatre. I’ve lived in Beaver for most of my life and even graduated from Beaver Area High School. I play Lynn in Red Herring; she and I are both young and on the verge of the rest of our lives.
Bruce E. Travers: I live in Ross Township with my wife Robyn and stepson James. I play Frank Keller primarily, but also play the priest and Major Hartwell. I like Frank because he isn't some Joe Friday-type cop who is all business. Frank has a good sense of duty, but he also shows a sharp sense of humor. I also like his progressive attitude about working with a woman on the case. He respects Maggie; he isn't threatened by her.
Ryan Wagner: This is my second show with the Bobcat Players, with my first being The Drawer Boy last season. I am a graduate of Robert Morris University, and I am currently employed at Strayer University. I also run a comedy YouTube channel called “Vlogner”, which I encourage everyone to check out! In Red Herring, I am playing James Appel, Harry, Woody, and the Bartender. Out of those characters, I relate the most to James, because of his optimistic attitude. No matter the situation, James always sees the positive result. Of course, what James wants might not always be the best thing, but you can always appreciate his optimism!
Mindy Williams: I am the director of theater at Geneva College. I decided to audition to get back to what I first loved about theater--acting--because I haven't done that in a while, though I have been designing and directing for a long time. I play Maggie Pellatier, a hard-boiled detective. Maggie is very driven. She won't stop till she has solved her case. She loves a good mystery, and because of her past mistakes she puts solving one particular mystery ahead of everything, including her personal life. I can relate to her in that she is doing a traditionally male job, and that she gets very focused on her work. I also love a good mystery. I love to guess the endings of movies and books.
Keith Zagorski: I am an original member of the Bobcat Players, currently VP of the group. I play Andrei, Petey, Dr. Kasden, Herbert and my toughest role yet, the Corpse!
Rebecca: It's great to meet all of you! So what was your first impression of the script? Has it changed since rehearsals began?
Bruce: I liked the script right from the first scene. As I mentioned before, the interplay between Frank and Maggie shows them as equals, and the jokes are smart. It is reminiscent to me of the 1940 comedy His Girl Friday, which is refreshing for its portrayal of a strong career woman. Maggie doesn't just obsess with getting married and toss her career aside, and Frank doesn't expect her to.
Jessica: I, too, loved the script the first time I read it, and it keeps getting better. It’s funny and enjoyable with a lot of drama thrown in there. It’s just a great show.
Ryan: My first impression was similar--I thought it was quite a wild ride. Since we’ve started rehearsing, I’ve only found it funnier and even more enjoyable after seeing my cast mates bring all of these characters to life.
Keith: I first read the script a few years ago as part of the play reading committee. I enjoyed it then and have wanted us to find a way to fit the show in a season. It’s quirky, funny and I’ve always liked the fact that it’s a little different with the 50’s Noir setting/approach. Also, doing multiple characters is a lot of fun and keeps the audience engaged. I like it even better now that we’ve stated rehearsals. Under Barbara’s guidance, the script has become even more engaging.
Mindy: Like most of my cast-mates, I had also never heard of the script, but unlike them, I'll admit I was a little skeptical. How could one show be a film noir send-up, a murder mystery, a comedy, a romance, and also a self-described fable?! After I read it, I became a believer--it has a little bit of everything in a good way! Working with everyone as a small 6-person ensemble has also been a lot fun.
Rebecca: What are you most looking forward to with this show and what would you say to encourage audiences to attend?
Keith: I think the script and references--while stylized to the 50’s--are very funny for today’s audiences, since it was written in 2000. It also has an underlying detective story, so the audience has to pay attention to the different characters and scenes. I also like the fact that the show isn’t done a lot, so its feels new and fresh! This show has a lot of elements audiences will like: dry humor, a little slapstick, a "crime" story and romantic elements.
Mindy: It is fast-paced, funny, nostalgic, but with a dose of real people with real flaws, to quote Maggie, "fumblin', fightin', makin' mistakes " to find love in this imperfect world.
Bruce: What I most look forward to in this show is the chance to play three separate characters in three consecutive scenes. While my least favorite part of acting is costume changes, I like the challenge of convincing the audience that they are seeing three different men, who all happen to look like me. I also am impressed with the rest of the cast, only two of whom I have worked with before. I've been acting for about 15 years now, and I think this will be one of my favorite shows. It is a very funny play with interesting characters. I feel confident our cast and director can deliver a most entertaining evening for our audiences!
Jessica: I’m looking forward to getting to work with some old friends and getting to make some new ones. I would encourage everyone to see this show because it’s both high energy and dramatic. Working on this show has been a blast!
Ryan: I’m excited to diving into the espionage and film noir aspects of this show, while presenting them in a very comedic way. If you like mystery, crime, drama, and want to laugh along the way, then come see Red Herring!
Red Herring runs September 26th-29th, with performances on the 26th-28th beginning at 7:30 pm and at 3:00 pm on the 29th. Tickets are on sale at the Hostess Gift Shoppe and online. You can also reserve by calling our box office at (724) 494-1680. We can't wait to see you there!