Tour de force
comedy comes to Ketchum via Cincinnati
Express Staff Writer
rare aspiring actor in any city in the world that hasn’t waited on
tables while taking endless acting classes that claim to improve
elocution, movement, or dance.
Rais in "Fully Committed," playing this weekend at the
nexStage Theatre in Ketchum.
is fully and hilariously evoked in "Fully Committed" by Becky
Mode, and directed by Lynn Meyers, from the Ensemble Theatre of
Cincinnati. The play is the debut performance presented by the Sun Valley
Performing Arts Center. Based on the hit version at the ETC, which closed
just last week, the play will be here for only three performances, Oct. 5
to 7 at the nexStage Theater in Ketchum.
plan on an hour and a half of laughter," Meyers said.
actor Robert B. Rais, now in his eleventh season at Ensemble Theatre of
Cincinnati, incredibly plays all 36 characters in the show, including the
pivotal role of Sam, the reservations operator at a tony New York eatery.
trying to find a spot at the restaurant some are famous—some are rude,
some are simply aggressive, but all are hungry to see and be seen.
Sam. all the characters appear via phone calls on the reservation line or
through the intercom from upstairs in the restaurant itself. There’s the
foreign dignitary, the supermodel’s assistant, the hissy-fit throwing
socialite who will stop at nothing to book a table, there’s Mrs.
Vandeveer, old money Park Avenue matron and the nouveau riche social
the high-strung maitre d’, the irascible chef and Sam’s lonely and
recently widowed dad, all vying for Sam’s time.
actor it’s an artistic experiment to mount it somewhere else."
recently Gabe in the ETC production of "Dinner With Friends" and
received Cincinnati Entertainment Award Best Actor nominations for his
roles in "Private Eyes" and "Keeping The Faith." Other
credits include "The Compleat Wrks. of Wm. Shakespre
(Abridged)," "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," and "The
Tempest" with Theatreworks Shakespeare Festival, "Greater
Tuna" with Flagstaff Festival of the Arts and "A Christmas
Carol" with Tennessee Repertory Theatre.
worked in my share of restaurants, too," he commented "I worked
at a four-star restaurant here, the Palace, so I’ve met most of these
characters over my time there—I did the schmoozing thing."
"Fully Committed" playwright Mode, a former actress, waitress
and coat check girl. In fact, the play was created by her after a stint at
Bouley, one of New York’s finer and most exclusive dinning spots.
Theater critic Peter Marks, of the New York Times, wrote, "Rarely has
a playwright pegged so entertainingly the insecurity at the heart of the
New York sense of entitlement."
In a time
when New York City is on the mind of everyone, people are applauding New
York’s often odd sensibilities.
vein, Jon Kane of Interplanetary Theatre Group, who has enabled the play
to be produced here, and Mary Mott of The Sun Valley Performing Arts
Center are turning the lobby of nexStage into a mini "Tavern on the
Green," for a benefit party.
is a landmark restaurant in New York, on Central Park West and the edge of
the park itself. It’s a restaurant that is not unlike the place where
Sam, of the play, might be working.
night will be a special "tribute to New York and New Yorkers,"
said Kane. A portion of the proceeds will go the New York Firefighters
Widows’ and Children’s Fund. Refreshments and hors d’oeurves will be
served, and pianist Alan Pennay will serenade the pre-theater crowd from 7
to 8 p.m. After the show, there will be deserts including New York style
cheesecake. Tickets for the benefit show are $50, for the other two
performances they are $20. Tickets are available at Chapter One Bookstore
in Ketchum or at the door.
rare visit to Ketchum by one of the top regional American theater groups.
"We are a source point for many premiere works and regional new
works," said Meyers, Indeed, they premiered such works as Warren
Leight’s "Sideman," and his most recent "Glimmer, Glimmer
actually in the middle of opening ‘Love Child’ by Luther Goins."
she’ll be giving a talk, Friday at 4 p.m. on regional theatre.
goes up both Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., and on Sunday at 7 p.m.