By Omie Drawhorn
Silverton High School, 1456 Pine St.
The Felix and Oscar Version
7 p.m. March 1 and 2;
2 p.m., March 3 and
5 p.m. March 4
The Olive and Florence Version
2 p.m. March 4;
7 p.m. March 8, 9 and 10
Tickets: $5 adults,
$3 students and senior citizens.
For information, call the
SHS box office at
503-873-6331, ext. 3778
The casts of Silverton High School’s two versions of The Odd Couple have chemistry down.
Playing the roles of people who know each other pretty well comes naturally, as the cast of 16 has been acting together for the past three to four years. All but two are juniors and seniors.
This isn’t the first time Neil Simon’s play has been performed at Silverton High School.
Director and drama teacher Doug Ousterhout said English teacher Nancy Miller directed the female version of the play 15 years ago.
Now it is back to the forefront.
The play opens 7 p.m. March 1 at the Silverton High School Auditorium, 1456 Pine St., and runs through March 10.
The classic comedy has two versions and SHS actors will perform both in separate performances.
The original male version was written and performed in 1965 and the female version which followed was written and set in 1985.
Both versions center around two mismatched roommates, one clean and uptight, the other laidback and slobby, and play off their comedic interactions.
The male version cast includes two male roommates, Felix and Oscar, their poker buddies, and two British sisters (the Pigeon sisters) who play romantic interests.
The female version includes two female roommates: Olive and Florence. The poker is swapped for Trivial Pursuit and the romantic interests are two Spanish brothers (the Costzueloes).
Ousterhout said the two casts are made up of completely different actors— they warm up together and then rehearse separately.
He said it has been an ambitious endeavor and “twice the work” but it has been well worth it.
“I hadn’t done Neil Simon in a while, and it’s a wonderful cast,” he said.
He said before he decided to direct the play, he knew there would be students who would be perfect in all the parts.
He said he was overwhelmed with the talent at the audition but unfortunately there were more than 50 people auditioning for 16 parts.
“He’s almost needy in a loveable way,” he said. “He has quirks, drives everyone insane, and has this odd habit of his always needing to be loved.”
Hawkins said it’s been fun to watch the cast and characters grow as they’ve rehearsed throughout the last month.
He said the biggest challenge has been sharing the stage with just one other main character. It is his largest role to date.
“The chemistry must be precise because for most of the time it’s just me and Stephen (McClanahan) on stage,” he said. “Everyone is pretty good friends.”
He said poker is a focal point of the script and it was easy to slip into the role of poker buddies.
The pack of poker buddies include Steven Hall, who plays Vinnie; Aden Krueger, who plays Murray; Dakota Winslow, who plays Speed; and Nick Garrett, who plays Troy.
Emily Doerfler, a senior, plays Felix’s counterpart in the female version – Olive. “It’s all about the characters clashing,” she said.
When she tried out, she said she was hoping to play Olive.
“My family said I would be a perfect slob,” she said. “I was like ‘thanks guys.’”
But the character of Olive is very much of a departure from Doerfler’s personality.
“I was stepping out of comfort zone,” she said.
Seniors Roman Kuznetsov and Nick Johnston play the suave Costzuelo brothers, Manolo and Jesus.
“We are divorced from our wives, want to be up to date, wear new fashions, and we have a competitive bond with each other,” Kuznetsov said.
Johnston said the accents are both the best part and the most challenging part of playing the characters.
“Our “Z’s” and “X’s” are replaced with the “th” sound,” Kuznetsov said.
Audrey Groom, sophomore, and Mariah Thixton, senior, play the brother’s counterparts in the other version, the goofy British sisters, the Pigeons.
“I love the awkward humor, and showing my flirtatious side,” Groom said. “She’s kind of the opposite of me; I’m not really flirtatious.”
Thixton said she had seen The Odd Couple performed before and fell in love with the contrasting characters.
Ousterhout said he has been debating whether to keep the shows with their original setting in the 1960s and 1970s or to set it in present day. He said there are references that may not make sense in today’s world, but the themes and relationship are the most important part of the show, and would work no matter what the time period.
He said he has been overwhelmed with the support from the community, coming off of The Wizard of Oz.
While The Wizard of Oz was a family show, The Odd Couple is geared toward an adult audience.
“I don’t recommend children go, but adults, people who grew up with The Odd Couple will especially enjoy it,” he said. He recommends that audiences check out both versions. Normally the plays will be performed on different nights, but on March 4, audiences can catch the female version at 2 p.m. and the male version at 5 p.m.
The male version features Stephen McClanahan, Izaak Hawkins, Dakota Winslow, Steven Hall, Nick Garrett, Aden Krueger, Mariah Thixton and Audrey Groom.
The female version features Emily Doerfler, Sarah Elliott, Kjersten Holliday, Rio Cunningham, Karissa Mathae, Charlotte Stoettner, Roman Kuznetsov and Nick Johnston.