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'Plans' for young and old

Comedy zips through plot laden with espionage

Comedy zips through plot laden with espionage

March 17, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Director Tom Amick is hoping his fondness for Fred Carmichael's plays is contagious.

Amick chose to direct Carmichael's comedy "The Best Laid Plans" in hopes that the light, entertaining show would attract a broader and younger audience for the Chambersburg Community Theatre.

The nonprofit theater company has seen a decline in attendance in recent years as it competes with movies and video stores for peoples' entertainment dollars, said Amick, who has been with the volunteer theater group since 1977.

"We need to be bringing younger people in as an audience and into our cast," Amick said.

Amick said his choice of production seems to be working because attendance increased for opening weekend for "The Best Laid Plans" at The Capitol Theatre Center in downtown Chambersburg. The show closes this weekend with performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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Even though it's a tale of intrigue and spies, "The Best Laid Plans" is a "typical family show, and anybody could come to see this show," Amick said.

There are some mild fight scenes and allusions to the main character's writings. She switched from writing children's books to spy books with romantic entanglements.

Set during the Cold War in 1965, the play has author Ada Westbrook arriving at her summer home in Jamaica in time to end up as a liaison between her government and enemy powers as a spy with "the plans" ends up dying in her home, Amick said.

The spy games heat up as Westbrook, played by Vicki Gontz, and her assistant, Frances Daniels, portrayed by Billi Jo House, try to hide the body.

As Carmichael's play progresses, a bit of a shell game ensues as the "plans" and the body are moved around the Jamaican property.

Amick said "The Best Laid Plans" is a fast-paced comedy that he is trying to direct as a farce.

"I try to keep my shows light and entertaining," Amick said.

Amick has a particular fondness for the work of Carmichael, whom sent a note wishing the cast to break a leg as it prepared to stage his "The Night Is My Enemy" last year, Amick said.

"The Best Laid Plans" is the sixth Carmichael play Amick has directed.

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