Manchester firefighters to hold fund-raiser featuring zany play


April 16, 1997|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

EVERY SPRING, the zany side of Manchester's firefighters comes out in three nights of laughs, practical jokes and slapstick humor, and town residents fill the tiny theater above the firehouse.

"If it's not a comedy, we make it one," says Billy Dell, this year's director. He read several scripts to find one that fit the small stage and called for easily acquired props.

"Because of that, our plays are usually set in a living room or lobby," said Elwin Wagner, a veteran of Manchester theatrics.

This year, Dell will play Larry Lime, low-budget Hollywood producer. Elwin plays Bud Granger, low-budget screenwriter of vampire schlock who's decided to purchase a crumbling Arizona hotel by digging buried treasure nearby.

With 13 actors, plus prompter Dianne Nichols, the cast infuses "My Son is Crazy But Promising" with nonstop sight gags.

One silly moment comes when veteran "actor" Gary Eppley is spun on roller skates and pushed out a door.

It's become a tradition for cast members to play tricks on each other during the performance, including everything from sudden falls to outrageous clothing. Last year, Mayor Elmer Lippy made a surprise entrance on stage.

"Some of your guests are not exactly rational," says Bud's mother, a wacky actress played by Angel Collins, whose line in the script refers to occupants of the hotel.

Among the unlikely hotel crew are: a foreign spy, played by Adam Rock; an FBI agent, played by Mary Burke; a nervous mobster, played by Eppley, and his starlet wife, played with superb nasal whine by Ginny Blackowicz; trendy misplaced honeymooners, played by Steve Hossler and Vicki Dell; a mobster-chasing reporter, played by Keith Klunk; a lottery official, played by Pam Collins; and a little old lady who claims to have seen ships from outer space, played by Debbie Bair. There's even an alien, played by Denise Nott.

This is Gloria Flanagan's first performance, as the hotel keeper. Her only previous stage experience was to sing at her niece's wedding. She came with fellow church choir member Mary Burke to play rehearsals that began about two months ago.

"When I think about it, I get a nervous stomach, but when I look at my lines, I'm all right," Flanagan said.

Doug Wheeler plays the Arizona lawman, perhaps the only rational character in the play's twisted plot. All the male actors, plus Blackowicz, are members of the Manchester Fire Department.

The play benefits the fire company. It will be presented at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 2: 30 p.m. Sunday at the firehouse, 3209 Main St.

Adult tickets are $4, children 12 and under are $2.50. Refreshments will be sold between acts.

Information: 410-239-2286.

Hampstead pool to open

Under an energetic new pool manager, Heather King, the Hampstead Municipal Pool will open from 11 a.m. to 7: 30 p.m. May 24-26 for weekend swimming and seven days a week during the summer. Memberships and daily admission are available.

A pool slide and children's play area have been added, and the concrete deck around the pool has been replaced. Swimming lessons, senior citizen "swim-r-cise," and events ranging from hot dog nights to family nights and adult swims are planned.

Swimming lessons for all levels will be given weekday mornings during three nine-day sessions that cost $30 per student. The first session begins June 23, the second July 7 and the last on July 21.

Senior swim-r-cise, consisting of stretching, exercise and laps/free swim will cost $2 per session, $8 per week or $50 for the season. A mother-and-baby swim will be given if enough interest is shown.

Memberships range from $50 for single admission on weekends to $180 for seven-day use by a family. Registration prior to May 1 receives a 10 percent discount.

Information: 410-239-7408.

Covered-dish supper

The Family Life committee of Trinity United Church of Christ will sponsor a covered-dish dinner Sunday after the 10: 45 worship ** service. The potluck is alphabetical: those attending with last names starting from "A" to "F" are asked to bring a vegetable; from "G" to "L" to bring desserts; from "M" to "R" to bring meats; and from "S" to "Z" to bring salads.

Information: 410-374-2727.

Council candidates debate

Four candidates for Manchester elections will meet at 7: 30 p.m. April 21 in a public forum in the Town Council chamber, with Del. Joseph Getty as moderator. The locally televised forum will include five-minute monologues by each candidate.

Information: 410-239-3200.

Pub Date: 4/16/97

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