Native son returns to area for roles

DeBoy, seen in Waters' film, takes Olney stage

Stage: Theater/Music/Dance

September 30, 2004|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC

Native Baltimorean Paul DeBoy hasn't done a lot of acting in his hometown in recent years, but suddenly area audiences can see a lot of him -- all of him, in fact, since he's one of the few actors who appears in the nude in John Waters' new movie, A Dirty Shame.

In the movie, DeBoy and actress Susan Allenbach play husband and wife swingers. It was DeBoy's first Waters movie, as well as his first on-screen nude scene.

What surprised him most about Waters, he says, was that "he's so shy. We finished doing the nude scene, which both Susan and I were angsting about, and [Waters] came into the house to tell us it was really funny. We said, `How did we look?' He got real shy and said, `I couldn't look.' The king of schlock couldn't look."

A Dirty Shame isn't the only place you can catch DeBoy these days, however. He's also starring as novelist Charles Condomine in Olney Theatre Center's production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, which begins performances Tuesday.

In Coward's comedy, Charles and his second wife (Julie-Ann Elliott) are haunted by the spirit of his deceased first wife (Kate Goehring). As a result, Charles finds himself engaging in what wife No. 2 describes as "astral bigamy."

Along with Coward's wonderful wit and wordplay, the actor says, "What I love about the play is that it was written during World War II, and Coward mentioned nothing about that at all, and yet the play has to deal with death and life and how much you get out of it and what you're doing with it, and it is a love story, too."

Based in New York since 1992, DeBoy has never performed at Olney before, or acted in a Coward play. He has, however, done two other shows -- Georges Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and A.R. Gurney's Sylvia at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park -- with John Going, who is directing Olney's production.

The jobs in St. Louis and Cincinnati are typical of DeBoy's active regional theater career, which includes more than 30 shows at Totem Pole Playhouse in Fayetteville, Pa. Among his television credits are two episodes of Law & Order, but Maryland Public Television viewers may remember him best from his half dozen seasons on the comedy series Crabs.

Right now, however, DeBoy is enjoying portraying "a bon vivant" in Blithe Spirit. No nudity this time around, though. "Not unless they pay me a lot more money," he jokes. "No, everybody keeps their clothes on in this one."

Show times at Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and most Sundays, 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; with matinees at 2 p.m. Sundays, most Saturdays and Nov. 4; through Nov. 7. Tickets are $15-$36, except for the Oct. 5 pay-what-you-can preview. For more information, call 301-924-3400.

For more theater, classical music and dance events, see Page 38.

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