Arts and Culture

Student humor shines in production of Rumors

Over the course of two weekends, Wheaton students will be performing the play Rumors, a farce about an upper-class dinner party celebrating the host couple’s tenth wedding anniversary. However, when the guests arrive, the host is found in his study with a bullet through his ear, and the hostess has mysteriously gone missing. The play focuses on the party guests’ determination to disguise the disastrous evening, fooling even policewomen into believing that everything is going perfectly.

Professors David Fox and Clinton O’Dell, along with Technical Director Jeff Grapko, supervised the organization and rehearsal of the play. However, many students played significant roles in its production, including Production Stage Manager Rebekah Bryer ’13. The cast and crew have been rehearsing since early February, putting in long hours to ensure a great performance.

The Wheaton Theater department has performed farcical plays in the past, such as Noises Off by Michael Frayn and Tartuffe by Moliere. “I consider farce one of the most difficult comic genres to perform,” said Fox, “and as such, it is a wonderful learning tool for student actors. It demands high speed, emotional adjustments made on a dime, and vocal and physical precision. Nothing can be sloppy, fussy, or tentative. It is a very difficult type of theatre to do well.”

Last weekend’s shows were a hit, the audience breaking out in laughter at nearly every line. The constant switch between calm conversation and hysterics was well played, and the timing added to the hilarity.

The cast included Chris Bittner ’13, Alex Butcher-Nesbitt ’15, Schuyler Evans ’15, Haley Fisher ’15, Charlotte Kinder ’13, Corinne Manning ’14, Erika McCormack ’15, Joe Nelson ’14, Caroline Osborn ’13 and Chris Truini ’16. Each actor brought something different to the stage; Manning, who played Cookie Cusack, burst into loud hollering at her chronic back spasms, and Truini, who played Ken Gorman, spent half the play in partial deafness, shouting and misunderstanding nearly everything.

As Heather Gordon ’13, Lighting Designer, said, “It’s really, really funny. The first time I watched it, I was crying. I practically fell out of my seat.”

When asked to describe Rumors in just a few words, Fox called the play “a rollicking evening full of slapstick and subterfuge.”

In addition to last weekend’s shows, the play will be performed again this weekend April 18, 19 and 20, with shows starting at 8pm. Tickets are $5 for general admittance and $2 for Wheaton students. You can reserve tickets by calling the Watson Box Office at 508-286-3575 or by emailing