Dinner and a mystery: All Student Theater presents Neil Simon’s ‘Rumors’

When an anniversary dinner party takes an unexpected turn after the host shoots himself and his wife goes missing, the guests are simply buzzing with questions and allegations in All Student Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s “Rumors” this upcoming weekend. A farcical comedy plays out as the ritzy guests in the Westchester, N.Y., apartment attempt to understand the situation and hide the events from the local police.

Sophomore and director Julia Brosseau said, “The reason I chose ‘Rumors’ was because I really wanted to do a comedy. I enjoy walking out of a show and feeling happy. I actually read the script and laughed during it, which is unusual for me. The characters are all very funny and spot-on, and the show moves very quickly. The whole thing is so ridiculous. I think the board chose this piece because they wanted to do something different from last year, which was ‘Our Town,’ a very dramatic and sad play.”

All Student Theatre (AST) was founded 20 years ago and is one of three student-run theater groups on campus. Each year, AST does one production on the Beaumont Pavilion in Brookings Quadrangle in the spring and a cabaret each semester to fundraise for the spring show. Students can choose a show that they would like to direct and submit an application in October, after which a board comprised entirely of students selects the work to be presented in the spring.

Sophomore Nathan Wolf, who plays the character of Lenny, said of his experience, “I have a very brief acting career…freshman year, I started with K.A.R.L…I have several friends in AST who encouraged me to audition, and now I’m here.”

Brosseau describes her role as director as providing her actors with some artistic freedom to take on the characters as they see fit. She serves as a mediator to organize the actors and make sure that their choices work well together.

Because the play is performed outside, there are several lighting and set-design changes from the original. The script calls for a huge banister and a two-floor set, but since this would not be feasible on the Quad, the set for AST’s production includes three stairs to reference a second floor.

In order for the group to make sure that nothing is stolen from the outside set, members of AST have had to be out on the Quad 24/7 for the past two weeks.

Wolf said, “It has definitely been a bonding experience. The cast has gotten really close, physically and emotionally, since everyone is pretty much in every scene. Also, when you spend [all] night with someone else on the Quad, you definitely bond with them.”

Students coming to see “Rumors” should expect a lot of witty jokes and sarcasm. AST hopes that it will appeal to all audiences as it is very high-energy and not specifically catered to any one audience.

“Rumors” will be performed from April 10-13 at 8 p.m. at Beaumont Pavilion in Brookings Quadrangle. Tickets are $5 for students and are available either in the Danforth University Center this week or at the door.

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