(Posted 1:30 p.m., June 25)
production an homage to the golden age of television
By Fred Sherwin
tied and bound Randy Bellini is force fed
Twinkies by Susan Flemming during a scene
in the OOPS production of My Mother
the... OOPS at the Shenkman Arts Centre
on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Orleans Older Players play homage to the golden age of
television in their latest production My Mother
the... OOPS based on the 60s sitcom My
Mother the Car.
regarded as one of the worst television shows of all time,
My Mother the Car was cancelled after its
first season which ran from September 14, 1965 and April
of the show blamed the newly empowered television critics
for its demise, which is the premise for the OOPS production,
co-written by teacher, director and cast member Susan
Flemming in collaboration with the class members, all
of whom are OOPS veterans.
two central figures in the play are Mary Beth Wiggins,
played by Céline Nadeau, and Anton Etchevary, played
by Randy Bellini.
is a super fan of the show and founder of the My Mother
the Car Fan Club in the fictitious town of Turtle Creek.
Etchevary is a television critic, who Wiggins blames for
the shows untimely cancellation.
in the Fan Club amounts to a grand total of four people
and a stuffed cat Wiggins; her mother Audrey Palliser,
played by Sue Ashton; the maintenance worker of the building
the clubs meetings are held in, Bobby Fletcher,
played by Sarah Benfield; Howie Ledbetter, played by Andre
Lacasse, who happened to read a flyer about the meeting
Wiggins had circulated in town; and Effie Sprague, an
eccentric lady and alien conspiracy theorist, played by
Flemming, who walks around talking to her stuffed cat
Wiggins mother reluctantly joins the club, she becomes
a die hard fan when her daughter tells her that the car
in My Mother the Car reminds her of her because its
always giving the lead character good advice in times
the club learns that Etchevary is being sent to write
a story about them, they cook up a plan to force him to
write a new script that will keep the show on the air.
tying him up and torturing him with Twinkies and Tang,
he agrees to write a script based on their story line.
(Kudos to Bellini for delivering his lines through a mouth
full of Twinkies.)
the script is done, the club prepares to do a reading
at their next meeting with Etchevary sitting in as the
male lead. As they begin, the club members quickly realize
that hes strayed from the story line he was given.
Instead of the car getting a makeover, its diagnosed
with a cracked crankshaft, a blown gasket and a corroded
exhaust system. In other words, its terminal.
her reaction, Wiggins has what can best be described as
a mental breakdown as the house lights fade to black.
the final scene, the club members gather for another night
in front of the television, only this time with Etchevary
as their special guest sporting a broken arm and leg.
they they take their seats, the opening strains of the
Star Trek theme song begin to rise and the house lights
fade a final time.
The cast was awesome as always. I especially liked Lacasse
as Howie Ledbetter. With his self effacing laugh, he reminded
me of Harold on the Red Green Show.
was fun as Mary Beth Wiggins, especially during her meltdown,
and Flemming was brilliant as the eccentric Effie Sprague.
Benfield and Bellini were also on the top of their game.
Monday night OOPS class will start up again in the fall.
If you secretly desire to be an actor and feel ready to
come out of the closet, then I would highly recommend
joning the class if for no other reason than to get to
work with Flemming. You can learn more at www.oypts.com.
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business partners.)
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