Northern Michigan University's Forest Roberts Theatre will present the U.S. premiere of Building Madness by Kate Danley, winner of the Panowski Playwriting Competition. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22-Saturday, Feb. 25, with a 1 p.m. matinee performance Saturday.
The slapstick comedy is about an architecture firm that is struggling to stay afloat in the business world of 1930. President Max and Chief Designer Paul only have a week to pay the bank $7,000 and, with the help of their not-so-bright secretary Trixie, they get tangled up in a mob deal while thinking it will solve all their problems.
“I really wanted to do an upbeat comedy and Building Madness was hands down the funniest play submitted for the competition,” said Director Paul Truckey. “It also was the best play written in terms of plot and structure. In addition to having a great play, rehearsals have been a joy. The cast is very clever and witty.”
Truckey and Danley workshopped the play over the summer on campus and were able to tweak minor problems in the script.
“The summer development process led to some of my favorite rewrites,” said Danley. “For the workshop, I accidentally sent the very first version of Building Madness, which was almost a year old. The next day, we were able to read the most recent version of the script, which had undergone massive changes.
“As a playwright, you never know how your writing will sound off the page and this serendipitous accident allowed me to hear what I actually got right the first time and where I had gone off the rails. Building Madness would not be the play it is today without the Panowski prize and those summer workshop days.”
Carly Bellock is one of six actors cast in the production. She is performing as “Trixie”, which is her first lead role in a play.
“The characters that Danley has created are bigger than life,” Bellock said. “They all have unique, individual personalities. It is hard to be onstage and not laugh during rehearsals because the writing of the play is so funny.”
Tickets are $15 for the public, $10 for students and $5 for NMU students. Tickets are available online at tickets.nmu.edu or at any NMU EZ Ticket outlet. For more information on the event, contact the Forest Roberts Theatre Box Office at (906) 227-2082 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.