Appearing Locally recently sat down with Alex Hollmann, the director of “Unnecessary Farce” opening this weekend at Beatrice Community Players.
AL: Tell us a bit about what happens in “Unnecessary Farce,” we’re assuming it’s a farce, right?
AH: Oh yes, it definitely is a farce. You know any show with more than three doors is going to be funny – and we have eight. Set in adjoining hotel rooms, “Unnecessary Farce” follows two undercover cops as they hope to bust the town mayor for embezzlement, but instead become distracted by an accountant that keeps taking off her clothes and an underground crime ring involving bagpipes.
AL: What excites you the most about working on this show?
AH: “Unnecessary Farce” is such a clever, well-written show. The playwright, Paul Slade Smith, has already crafted so much humor into the script. Then, when you add the creativity of the cast, director, and production team on top of that, we end up finding new, absolutely hilarious moments every rehearsal.
AL: Talk a little bit about the cast, what kind of experience do they bring to the show, have they been fun to work with?
AH: The cast brings a mix of experience to the stage – some are long time veterans of Community Players and for others, this is their first time with the organization. Across the board, though, I have been blown away by their professionalism and the work ethic. It never ceases to amaze me that everyone in this ensemble can work full-time day jobs and then come fired up for three hours of rehearsal – and always be in good spirits. Rehearsals have been a blast, and we always try to end the night on a big laugh.
AL: Okay, it’s a comedy, do you consider yourself “funny?”
AH: I would like to think that I’m funny, but you would probably get a more honest answer if you asked the cast. I can say with certainty, though, that I have lived up to the expectation that the director says some crazy things that make no sense. Somehow the cast seems to understand me, though.
AL: You’re guest directing for Community Players, what’s it been like to step in and work with the organization? Have you worked with them before?
AH: This is actually my first time working with Community Players! This summer is the first time I’ve been living in southeastern Nebraska and not been busy with school – so I’m glad to finally have this opportunity. The organization has been fantastic – like I mentioned earlier, the cast brings so much to the table, and it’s been a pleasure to work with such a hard-working, can-do production team.
AL: This show opens Community Players’ 2018-2019 Season, are you feeling any pressure?
AH: Sure? I guess? I mean, I probably should be right? Honestly, I have not thought about that too much during the process. You put the same amount of energy and work into a show whether it’s at the beginning, middle, or end of the season. And like I told Jamie Ulmer, the Managing Artistic Director – I have no intention of creating a bad show. We will work until we have an amazing, hilarious show… and I think we have achieved that.
AL: You’re starting your senior year at Doane University in a few weeks, has anything surprised you jumping out of an academic setting?
AH: A few things. In some ways, stepping out of an academic setting is a bit daunting because you don’t have a safety net. There’s more at stake (even if now you’re not worrying about a grade), and you really can’t afford a flop. But at the same time – it’s all thrilling. It’s been an interesting journey merging the things I have learned at Doane with the traditions of Community Players to create a fresh process. Above all, though, it’s inspiring to work with people who, even though it’s not their chosen career path, put so much time and heart into theatre.
AL: What do you hope audiences take away from seeing the show?
AH: You could take away from “Unnecessary Farce” that “As one door slams in your face, another door always opens right on cue with bigger and better opportunities of love and laughter.” Yes, everyone should realize that. But more so, I hope audience members will laugh harder than they have in a long time, and hours after the show find themselves thinking about it again, and laugh even harder.
Performances are: August 24, 25, 31 & September 1 at 7:30pm and August 26 & September 2 at 2:00pm. Beatrice Community Players is located at 412 Ella Street in Beatrice, NE. For tickets and information go to beatricecommunityplayers.com or call 402-228-1801.