Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” comes to Swat

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Imagine the most neurotic, OCD, nervous, *clean* person whom you know and pair him or her off with one of the messiest, most irresponsible, and generally lazy people you have ever met. What do you get? A match made in heaven. The possibilities of just such a pair prove to be a theatrical windfall in terms of comic possibilities in “The Odd Couple,” which will be performed this weekend on Saturday at 7, and Sunday at 3 and 7 pm in Upper Tarble.

The play, directed by Matt Dering ’07, is a classic comedy about two men, one divorced and the other recently separated, who find themselves splitting an apartment and struggling to make their own crazy relationship work. “Life goes on even for those who are divorced, broke, and sloppy,” argues Jason Horwitz ’07 ‘s character Oscar. Horwitz plays tough guy Oscar wonderfully, delivering Neil Simon’s lines so naturally that he ideally foils Colin Aarons ’09 ‘s Felix, a role in which Aarons transforms himself verbally and physically into a startled but hilarious bundle of nerves.

They are supported by a cast of poker buddies, Stephen Graf ’09, Chris Klaniecki ’10, Louis Jargow ’10, and Mark Skaden ’08, who play off each other’s various quirks with amusing results, and by two ditzy British sisters, Madalyn Baldanzi ’08 and Allison McCarthy ’09, who may or may not be the answer to Oscar’s prayers. Emily Gasser ’07 is stage manager and Anne Coleman ’09 has designed the cast’s costumes. The atmosphere is established in the ever versatile Upper Tarble as a well-trashed bachelor pad, replete with ancient snack food and filthy laundry.

The play is driven both by the wonderful script itself and by the clear connection between the performers. This is the second time that Dering has directed Aarons, Horwitz, and McCarthy, who starred in his Night of Scenes production of David Ive’s one-act “The Philadelphia.” Says Dering of the production, “I’ve seen these scenes about thirty times and I still laugh at them.” Anyone who sees the performance will undoubtedly realize why.

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