The Lying Kind, December, 2010 -- a staged reading

The sixth winter Hall Restoration Fund benefit was a staged reading of The Lying Kind by Anthony Neilson, directed by Robert Lunde.  The challenge of the annual benefit is to perform with scripts in hand, minimal props and costumes, whatever set is left from the last production, and less than a week's rehearsal.

Since this is a staged reading, we added a Narrator (Mark Proulx), to fill in descriptions and to translate weird British slang.  He is assisted by Timothy Glynn and Mary Roberge as various doors, windows, and sound effects.
It's Christmas Eve, and Constables Gobbel (Casimir Stradausazas) and Blunt (Dana T. Ring) have one last duty to perform before their shift ends—inform an old couple that their daughter Carol has been killed in a car crash.  Hoping to avoid this depressing task, they stall as much as they can.  Suddenly they are confronted by Gronya (Carla Maya), a neighborhood vigilante who is looking for a pedophile in the area.
Gronya leaves, and they finally ring the doorbell.  They are met by Garson (Kelly Seip) who somehow knows that Carol is dead because she "felt her leave the world." In the living room, Garson is consoled by her husband Balthasar (John Fabiani).  He puts her to bed and comes back to talk with the officers.
However, Garson comes back in believing she is aboard a cruise ship in the sixties.  Balthasar says she gets this way when she's stressed. After Garson retires, the officers learn that the couple think that it's not Carol, but their dog, Miffy, who has died.  They're expecting Carol to arrive any minute.  Blount tries to explain the real situation...
...but before he can, Balthasar has a "spell."  It seems he has a weak heart!  Blunt and Gobbel can't them the truth now, can they? Just then, the doorbell rings.  Balthasar leaves to let "Carol" in, and Garson comes in saying rotten things about Balthasar.
Naturally, it's not Carol, it's the Reverend Shandy (Allen Nott) come to offer condolences on the couple's loss.  Gobbel and Blunt quickly hustle Balthasar and Garson out and tell Rev. Shandy that they haven't told them of their daughter's death yet. Shandy is aghast and threatens to tell them himself, so Gobbel clocks him with his trunchon.  The officers stuff him into a wardrobe, but then hear Miffy barking outside!
Gobbel goes out the window to quiet the dog before the couple can hear it, but he overdoes it. Gobbel stuffs the dog under his helmet and immediately they are suprised by the arrival of Carol (Shannon Proulx)!  The officers are ecstatic that they don't have to deliver bad news on Christmas after all.
However, things go rapidly downhill.  This Carol is not the Carol, just a neighbor Carol.  She's looking for her lost dog and goes out the the backyard to look for him.  While there she sees Gobbel with the dog's body through the window.  She faints, and Gobbel and Blunt bring her into the house and hide her in a chest.
Gronya shows up passing the word about the suspected pedophile.  The officers hold their breath hoping she leaves so they can straighten everything out. Garson strolls in, in her "cruise ship" fantasy, raising Gronya's suspicions that they are hiding the pedophile in the house.  Gronya's group call her mobile phone to let her know that the pedophile is actually a priest.  Of course, that's a perfect time for Rev. Shandy to revive and bang on the wardrobe door.
Gronya calls her daughter who turns out to be the Carol in the chest.  Gronya does not believe Carol's story that Gobbel killed her dog and hid it under his helmet (because it's now hidden under Blunt's helmet), and sends her home.  To protect Shandy, Gobbel and Blunt try to convince Gronya that he isn't a priest—he's a strip-o-gram!  And so are they!  Gronya demands proof and the three are forced to strip.  [Tossed clothing is provided by Timothy and Mary as well as the stage manager (Dorrie Mitchell).]  Gronya has had enough and lights into the men.
Suddenly, Blunt falls to the floor screaming.  The dog has revived and is attacking him from under his helmet.  During the scuffle, the dog escapes through the window and the phone rings.  Garson calmly answers it and talks with her daughter, Carol.  Carol??  She's taking a train home, having sold her car to someone else weeks ago.  Blunt and Gobbel are thrilled they really don't have to deliver bad news.  Gobbel gives Shandy a balloon which he angrilly pops.  The loud noise gives Balthasar a heart attack just as the real Carol comes home.

Jerry Zalewski photos
More photos
Other Theatre links:

In The Spotlight, Inc.
Pillow Talking—"He Said/She Said"
The Connecticut Callboard
Connecticut Gilbert and Sullivan Society

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