Sarah Müth ’14 hopes her senior directorial project will deliver a fresh take on a beloved classic. Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple, Female Version” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, in Babcock Studio Theatre at Sweet Briar College.
“I have never seen the television show or the movie, nor have I seen ‘The Odd Couple’ on stage, so hopefully my take on it has a certain freshness about it since a lot of people are familiar with the story,” says Müth, who majors in theater.
The play’s original version was written by Simon and centers on a mostly male cast. It premiered in 1965 at Broadway’s Plymouth Theatre, starring Walter Matthau (Oscar Madison) and Art Carney (Felix Ungar). Twenty years later, Simon revised the script to allow for female leads. “The Odd Couple” was adapted for the screen in 1968 by Paramount Pictures, which also produced three television series in the 1970s and ’80s.
“I chose to direct ‘The Odd Couple, Female Version’ because of the strong focus it [places] on women and the different relationships we have with each other,” Müth says.
“The three themes I want to focus on in this play are friendship, getting older, and love [and] marriage. The theme of friendship is the most obvious one. The six girls have clearly been friends for a long time and know how to push each others’ buttons, as well as how to look out for one another. The friendship between Olive [Madison] and Florence [Unger] is put to the test and almost completely fails until the other girls intervene at the very end. Marriage is also a big propellant through every turn in the play. The failure of Florence’s marriage at the beginning is what instigates the rest of the plot.”
The two lead roles will be played by theater major Charlotte Hopkins ’15 (Florence) and first-year Lily Fritsch (Olive). Other cast members include Mayalin Quinones ’16, Emelie Wurster ’17, Courtney Todd ’15 and Rosalie Purvis ’15, as well as local actors Ron Hebert, who was recently seen as Richard in Sweet Briar Theatre’s “Richard III,” and Tony Quaranta as the Costazuela brothers. Jesse Schaaf ’15 serves as stage manager and the “central communication hub for this entire production,” Müth says.
When she’s not in Babcock rehearsing her play, the Leland, N.C., native stays busy as president of Paint ‘n’ Patches, treasurer of the national theater fraternity Alpha Psi Omega, member of the Earphones and Taps ‘n’ Toes, lead Phonathon caller, Sweet Spirit, ARC tutor and member of the Sweet Potters.
“And I never say no if someone needs a hand,” she adds.
But when classes, clubs and campus jobs end in May, Müth wants to focus entirely on theater.
“After I graduate, I hope to be able to find work at a theater in Wilmington, N.C., because I live right outside the city, which is a new hot spot for the film industry,” she says. “I’m not too picky about the exact work I do; I enjoy many aspects of the theater and I love new experiences.”
Tickets for “The Odd Couple” are free, but seating is limited. Email [email protected] for ticket reservations starting Dec. 2. For more information, contact Bill Kershner at (434) 381-6122 or [email protected].
Category: Theatre Arts