Auditions are now open for RPE's 2018 Fund Raiser: They're Playing My Song. We'll be saluting Broadway's Favorite Composers. March 17, 2018 at The Village Theatre in Danville. Positions open for male and female singers/movers. Stipend paid. Rehearsals in Danville, to be scheduled. Ed Goldfarb on the piano!  Contact Sharon Sprecher at .">. or call 916-768-9785 for details.

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The Best Man,
 by Gore
Directed by Sue Trigg

Facebook, October 14, 2009

…The Best Man is a story designed to elicit 
examination of the election process. In this play, which is set in 
the 60’s, former Secretary of State, William Russell, is running 
for job of president. We meet this play’s characters in their 
respective hotel rooms during a major party’s national convention. 
Russell (Richard Aiello) and his wife, Alice (Beth Chastain), have
 re-united for appearance sake to make Russell’s run for the
 presidency a possibility. Their personal relationship has been
 carefully hidden from the public for years, due primarily to 
Russell’s dalliances with other women. His principal opposition
 within his own party is a right wing evangelistic wild-man, Senator 
Joseph Cantwell (Jim Janisch), who is accompanied to the convention
 by his opportunistic wife, Mabel (Kristie Maloney).

president Arthur Hockstader (Dean Creighton), describes himself as a 
good ol’ boy, “the last of the great hicks”, a powerful 
politician whose nomination endorsement is highly sought by both 

…This is a play that is really a perfect choice
 for the tenor of our times and this local production is
 exceptionally well done.

Director Sue Trigg has gathered 
together a quite excellent cast who give you the best of Gore Vidal.
 Aiello is very believable as a presidential candidate with what
 seems to be more scruples than the average politician, even if his
 personal morals are not above question. This play points out the 
fact that some of our greatest presidents performed very well in 
their jobs, but very poorly in their personal lives. Jim Janisch is
 quite excellent as the religious zealot willing to compromise 
anything to get the power and prestige of the presidency! The entire
 cast performed very well.

This is an engaging and very well
 done show, certain to get your thought processes working!

 The Underpants,
 by Starl Sternheim,
 adapted by Steve Martin

Danville Weekly – January 23, 2009

‘Underpants’ – a revealing look at 
Steve Martin’s adaptation of
 1910 comedy filled with subtle insights 
by Geoff Gillette

…A play originally written by Carl Sternheim in
1910 and adapted by comedian Steve Martin, “The Underpants” 
shows the silliness of cultural mores and the hypocrisy of those who 
view such things in black and white terms.

Taking place within the confines of the small 
home of Theo and Louise Maske, the show focuses on a simple wardrobe
 malfunction and the far-reaching consequences it brings.

While Theo and Louise (Eddie Peabody and Xanadu
Bruggers) are attending a parade she experiences an unfortunate 
mishap where her underpants accidentally slip off and fall to the 

Theo, a government clerk, believes his life ma 
have come to an end as a result of the event, while Louise doesn’t 
think anyone even saw it, as the King was going by at the time.

The couple soon find themselves bombarded by men 
looking to rent the empty room. First comes Versati (Craig Eychner), 
a nobleman, poet and dandy who is besotted with Louise and her
 daring exposure. Then comes Cohen (Michael Sally), a sickly Jewish 
man also suddenly in love.

Louise seeks advice on how to deal with these 
romantic entanglements from Gertrude (Bonnie DeChant), the upstairs

All members of the cast work well in giving the 
double entendres and innuendoes associated with “The 
Underpants” a thorough workout. Director Sue Trigg makes good 
use of the simple yet engaging set designed by Eleisa Cambra in 
moving the players around with an energy at times bordering on the 

Manic would also best describe actor Michael 
Sally’s portrayal of Cohen, a character that could easily be lost 
behind the power of Blitt’s hale and hearty Theo or Eychner’s
foppish Versati.. Sally channels a demented sort of Jerry Lewis
 physicality to Cohen’s character, allowing him to steal more than 
one scene.

Bruggers and DeChant have a number of scenes
 together and the pair complement each other well. DeChant’s 
salacious Gertrude proves a strong enabler to Louise’s burgeoning 
sexuality, urging her along toward an affair with Versati while she 
herself is drawn to the loutish Theo.

Peabody does an excellent job of making Theo 
larger than life… He is a poster child for “do as I say, not
 as I do.”

Kudos should go to John Blytt as well in the 
understated role of Klinghoffer, a third boarder attempting to rent
 the room and completely unaware of the ongoing uproar around him.
 His scenes with his pet fish Ludwig brought down the house. …

…The Role Players cast utilizes Martin’s
 trademark style, in turns with the deftness of a surgeon’s scalpel 
or the power of a sledgehammer, reducing the audience to quivering 
laughter and applause.

What makes the show work so well is that it holds
 up a mirror to the cultural views regarding sex and gender that 
continue even today. It’s easy to laugh because at some level we are
 laughing at ourselves.

 Review: Danville Role Players Ensemble
 brings emotional punch to “Three Tall Women”
by Pat Craig

From the time he debuted the work in the 
mid-’90s, Edward Albee made it clear his “Three Tall Women”
 was his effort to come to terms with the relationship he and his
 adoptive mother endured.

But the play, being performed by Danville’s Role
 Players Ensemble, is so much more than the airing of dirty laundry. 
It is the examination of a detailed tapestry of human emotion,
 exploring the nooks, crannies and backwaters of life in the long 

It’s a story told by three women of different
ages: Old and dying A (Elinor Bell), middle-aged B (JanLee Marshall) 
and 20-something C (Sarah Kate Anderson). Or, as seems clearer in
the second act, it’s the examination of one life from different 
ages. It’s a riveting yarn, told beautifully by the Role Players’
 cast, which immediately picks up Albee’s realistically packaged 
theater of the absurd and runs with it.

In the first act, Bell gets all the good stuff,
 as a 90-some-year-old woman reaching the end of her life and
 exasperating the two younger women. And Bell is absolutely terrific 
in the role that moves her range from coquet to codger as she
alternately relives her highlights over again in her memory and then
 is nearly paralyzed emotionally by the prospects of the slender 
future in store for her.

The play’s lines are more heavily divided 
in the second act, but the two younger women, aspects of the older
 woman’s life, remain at least somewhat overshadowed by A, who 
appears both as a mannequin, silent beneath her oxygen mask in bed, 
and as a fully mobile character on stage.

It is also here that the play’s fourth, mute
 character, The Boy (Aaron Scherbath), comes into the room to sit
 silently beside his mom’s bed. As he sits in silence, the three
 women relive A’s life, revealing details and sharing secrets from
 different perspectives, in what is much more clearly Albee’s
 autobiographical commentary.

Director Richard Robert Bunker, has created a 
crisp, clean piece of theater, working with his actors to give the
 absurdist dialogue the ring of realism, which makes the various
 tricks of dialogue and repeated lines as effective as
 Contributing to this realistic feel is the master
 bedroom set design by Eleisa Cambra

 Charles Jarrett Reviews
 News, April 19, 2009

Time stopped this week for Edward Albee’s 
Pulitzer prize classic, “Three Tall Women”, in Danville… Three
 Tall Women is a brilliantly written, powerful testament to the 
survivability of the feminine gender. It is engaging, endearing, and 
arresting while attesting to the triumphs, tragedies and
 universality of women..

Three Tall Women is a play, not of
 plot but of nuance, Albee being more interested in how time and
 experience changes our voices…

Three Tall Women is like two different plays
 contained within one. The first act appears to be a fairly common 
storyline, with generic characters, three tall women who are the
 subject of the story…”Lady A” (Elinor Bell) is a 91 year old
 wealthy woman in failing health, with various bodily functions 
intermittently going astray… Lady “C” (Sarah Kate Anderson),
 an impatient 26 year old legal aid… Lady “B” (Jan Lee
Marshall) is a 52 year old caretaker for the elderly woman.

 first act engages the three women as they discuss and deal with the
 many moods, anger, distrust, intermittent dementia, pranks and 
foibles of the aging Lady “A”. ..

When the second act opens and moves forward, we
 are at first confused, perhaps even slightly bewildered, as the same 
three tall women are now on stage, having left behind their first act characters, becoming instead three age specific-incarnations of 
Lady “A”. They interact much like spirits, standing in the same 
bedroom, apparently following Lady “A’s” stroke (where Lady
“A’s “ body still reclines in the bed). Lady “A’s “ son 
enters the room and without expressing a word, pulls up a chair next 
to the bed, sits next to his mother’s reclining form, and holds a
 vigil over her as the play continues. The three tall women continue 
to be absorbed in a discussion between themselves about “A’s”
 life’s experiences. Sarah Anderson is now portraying Lady “A”
as a 26 year old, Jan Lee Marshall examining Lady “A’s” life
 experience up until her 52nd year, and Elinor Bell summing up Lady
 “A’s” life’s collective experiences to this point in time,
 in her 91st year. ..

Director Richard Robert Bunker has 
provided the audience with a richly rewarding, albeit darkly 
illuminating, experience. He selected three extremely talented
 actresses who are right on the money. While I was standing in the 
foyer of the theater at intermission, I overheard a gentleman
 speaking to others about how brilliantly portrayed these characters
 are. He exuberantly explained that he “knew each of these women 
intimately”. I stopped him moments later and asked him about his 
basis for making these statements. He conveyed to me that he had 
been in the business of working with senior citizens as a manager
 for a senior citizens home and convalescent care center for 28
 years. He again concluded that the director and actors had delivered
 very real characterizations that he could relate to and was frankly 
amazed at such a great portrayal. I have to concur! Superb
 performances, superb acting, superb set (Lisa Cambra) and costumes
 (by Lisa Danz).

 Danville Weekly, April 29, 2009
night at the theater: Opening night of new Role Players show is
 smooth sailing

By Geoff Gillette

As a former thespian in community productions, I
 am excited to visit backstage at the Village Theatre on Friday just
 prior to the opening of the Role Players Ensemble Theatre’s new 
production “Three Tall Women.”

My own memories of opening nights fill me with
 anticipation of the buzz and activity backstage as time winds down
 and the actors prepare for the lights to come up. Role Players
 Artistic Director Sue Trigg ferries me back to the dressing room,
 where the three women in question ready themselves for their first

On our way we pass the lone male cast member,
 Aaron Scherbath, grabbing a quiet moment and a cigarette in the 
parking lot behind the theater. Trigg calls out to the young man and 
asks how he’s doing.

“Nervous,” he says. “I’m nervous but I’m

Trigg smiles and nods, “Nervous is good,”
 she says and offers him the traditional actor’s salute of “break
 a leg.”

Inside the building I get a chance to spend a 
few minutes with the three tall ladies, Elinor Bell (A), Jan Lee 
Marshall (B) and Sarah Kate Anderson (C). Normally, those would be
 actual names in the parentheses, but in Edward Albee’s play the 
women are never identified, so letters serve to set them apart.

The dressing room this evening has an energy to
 it, not of panic or fear but of quiet expectancy. These actors have 
been rehearsing the play for the last few months, but tonight it is 

Bell is deeply engrossed in the process of transforming
 herself into the 92-year-old A that she plays in the show. When I
ask if I can snap some pictures of them getting ready she
 offhandedly responds, “As long as I don’t have to pay

Moments later as I head out to take my seat
 she murmurs, “Well, that was pretty painless.”

Ten minutes later the house lights dim, the stage
lights come up, and the show begins, a dissection of the final days 
in the life of an elderly woman.

In the first act, she is 
awake and talking with her nurse (Marshall) and an attorney 
(Anderson). Her mind drifts in and out of the here and now,
 sometimes weaving conversations now with events that happened long
 ago. The two other women try to follow along with the twisting paths 
of thought, with only limited success.

Through it all, you
 get a picture of what the woman’s life was like, its highs and

The second act takes a turn and the same three women 
retake the stage as aspects of the elderly woman from the first act,
 at different moments in her life. They vividly display the joy of
 youth, the disappointment of middle age, and the sagacity of the

Director Richard Robert Bunker chose his cast
 wisely; these three women work well individually and together to 
present the life of A.

Bell turns in an astounding
 performance as her physicality coupled with the makeup transform her 
into a convincing 92. The scenes where she is grappling with her 
shifting memories ring true with a poignancy that is difficult to 
attain. ..

Marshall’s performance requires a more layered
 approach, as she plays the nurse/attendant with a wry good humor in
 dealing with such subjects as loss of bladder control and keeping 
pace with her cantankerous charge.

Yet in the second act she 
is forced to act outside that character, showing the bitterness and 
anger that can fester in a life unfulfilled. Betrayals and
 disappointments build up, and in a scene where she finally erupts at 
her long lost son (Aaron Scherbath) the anger she displays scorches
 the air.

Anderson, the youngest of the three, displays the
 qualities of youth. The arrogance of a life yet to be lived and the
 loss of innocence that comes with the discovery of her own
 mortality. In talking to her older selves, she sees what is to come 
in her life and questions her future, wondering if she will be 

Scherbath has a difficult role to play, as the son who 
is only seen but never heard. He serves as the lightning rod to
 Marshall’s anger but is unable to respond. Yet his facial
 expressions speak volumes as he watches his mother in her final

The show is well done, in all aspects, from set
 design to lighting to costuming. Even minor audio hiccups fail to
 distract from the tableau created by the three actresses. “Three
Tall Women” is a fascinating examination of a life as it ends, 
and Role Players more than does the work justice

“Treachery 101, lots of fun in The
 School For Scandal”

 Jarrett Reviews,
 Rossmoor News, April 23, 2008

The Role Players Ensemble Theatre in Danville is
 currently presenting a brilliantly clever restoration comedy, The
 School for Scandal, by the very articulate author,
 renowned orator and British parliamentarian, Richard Brinsley

This is a very complicated play and certainly a 
very ambitious play for community theatre.

There are 15 diversely comic and intriguing
 characters in this farcical story about sibling rivalry, love, lust, fidelity, infidelity, and artificial relationships…

Director Sue Trigg has done an excellent job of
 selecting cast members capable of providing full meaning to their
 characters. This is an outrageous farce, a grand comedy and for the
 most part, it is carried off very well.

Meghan Neal,
 Danville Weekly, April
 25, 2008

“A Scandalous romp. Comedy of manners
 proves that gossip is nothing new”

…The show holds nothing back. Ripe with
 unabashed sexual insinuation and tongue-in-cheek wit, it
 relentlessly pokes fun at the members of this London society…
plot makes the ride even more fun. It’s full of love triangles,
 scandalous affairs and irresistible deceit. And the talented cast
 provokes laugh-out-loud moments more than a few times.


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