Performers of the Mountain Pointe High School theater club have been working for the past eight weeks to put together a show time showdown of Neil Simon’s play The Odd Couple.
The theater club will be performing both versions of the production written by Simon, which portray the same story but from the perspective of the opposite sex. The cast that draws the largest audience on their respective nights will win the privilege of giving the final performance on Saturday, Nov. 7.
“You put eight weeks of work into a show that only goes on for three nights so the closing night is usually the most powerful night to have,” said Kim Bonagofski, director of the Mountain Pointe High School theater club.
The male version, directed by Bonagofski and scheduled for performance on Thursday, Nov. 5, is set in the 1970s. The female version, directed by senior Jessica Plate, is slated for a performance on Friday, Nov. 6, and is set in the 1980s.
“It’s eerie how similar the scripts are, yet how different they are at the same time,” Bonagofski said, adding that most of the differences will stem from the actors themselves.
“I think how I’ve portrayed Felix and Oscar is a lot different from how Jessica is portraying her two female leads so I think you’re going to get two very different shows.”
Plate said that having the two casts has been a great opportunity for the male and female counterparts to play off each other in developing their characters.
Oscar/Olive Madison is a highly-motivated independent person and a total slob. Felix/Florence Ungar is a very codependent and meticulous neat freak. After a major spousal disagreement, Felix/Florence comes to live with Oscar/Olive in what Junior Jake Toepel (Oscar Madison) said could be the biggest mistake of Oscar/Olive’s life.
“A lot of the script does double over but if you were to come and see both shows you would notice a huge difference in the way the two shows are performed,” Plate said.
As for the competition, Plate said she would like for the female cast to perform on Saturday, but that both casts have worked very hard.
“It’s a friendly competition, but it is a competition because of the fact that everyone wants that coveted Saturday night show,” she said.
Sophomore Shea Hunter (Olive), said the actors are focusing more on the play than the competition.
“I think it’s pretty neutral. I mean it’s not like we’re mean about it. We all love each other. We each want our shows to win but at the same time we are supporting each others shows,” she said.
Junior Daniel Argaez (Felix) said the male cast has been strategizing to increase their audience, trying to attract family, acquaintances and acquaintances’ families to sell the most tickets.
“I think it’s a very big deal. I know my first time doing the play is not going to be the best, but my second time I’m going to see my faults, fix them up and do a hundred percent better on Saturday. So I am hoping for that shot,” Argaez said.
However, despite acknowledging each other’s hard work, both the male and female leads are confident that they will be performing on Saturday.
Alyson Zepeda is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.