Rollicking British farce opens at LTW

2013-05-02T00:00:00Z Rollicking British farce opens at LTWKathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Back in the good ol' pre-celeb-phone-tapping days, British politicians often got away with their philandering ways.

And that's the stuff for some very silly humor.

Ray Cooney delivers just that in "Two Into One," which the Live Theatre Workshop opens this weekend.

"I absolutely love the play," says Missie Scheffman, who directs and has a small role in the production. "The playwright has such a knack for comedy."

"Two Into One" is a farce about a British politician, Richard Willey, who is staying at a hotel with his wife, Pamela. He sends her off to the theater, and his assistant George off to arrange a suite so that he can seduce one of the prime minister's secretaries.

This is a farce, so, natch, George botches the whole thing, and Richard ends up with a suite next to the one he is staying in with his wife.

"The play pokes fun at everyone and everything," says Scheffman.

What's makes Cooney's comedies - most comedies, really - work is that they are so close to reality.

"These are everyday things that are a bit over the top," she says. "Cooney says that ... all comedy is based on tragedy."

Cooney also loves to mock the British upper crust.

"That was very important to him," says Scheffman.

"(In his comedies) He snubs his nose at the upper class and parliament, and shows how goofy they can be."

While this play takes place in the 1980s, it could be any time, adds Scheffman.

"What makes Cooney so good is that his plays are timeless and really relatable," she says.

"I think you can extrapolate Britain for here, and I think that a lot of what he does is universal in tone."

This is not the easiest show for LTW to stage.

There are two hotel rooms and lots of doors - six, to be exact - opening and closing on the company's tiny stage.

The challenge is pristine timing and creating a set and movements so that the audience can understand that there are two hotel rooms.

Add to that the fact that Scheffman is also in the play - she decided to do the part after the original actress had to drop out of the cast.

"The hardest part (about acting and directing in the same production) is the different focuses needed," she says.

"You focus on different things as a director than an actor. Switching modes on the turn of a dime is more challenging. I don't know if I'd sign up for this again."

But Scheffman knows this: The time is right for a raucous comedy.

"With everything weighing on communities, I think it's a fun way to let go of what's troubling everyone. ... We get to laugh."

If you go

• What: Live Theatre Workshop's production of "Two Into One."

• Playwright: Ray Cooney.

• Director: Missie Scheffman.

• When: Previews are 7:30 p.m. today and Friday; regular performances 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through June 9.

• Where: LTW, 5317 E. Speedway.

• Tickets: Previews, $12, regular performances $18. Discounts available.

• Reservations/information: 327-4242.

• Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes, including one intermission.

• Cast: Stephen Frankenfield, Sofia Orduno, Do Pham, Debbie Runge, Nick Salyer, Martie van der Voort, Brian Wees, Keith Wick and Scheffman.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at or 573-4128.

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