A 'funny' farce

June 16, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. - When director Wil Love said "Funny Money" was fast-paced, he wasn't kidding.

Witnessing an early rehearsal at Totem Pole Playhouse would emphasize how much there really is to do as the actors fire rapid dialogue and maneuver around the middle-class home of accountant Henry A. Perkins and his wife.

Does Meyer De Leeuw, as Henry, pick up the briefcase before or after an exchange with another actor before they cross the room behind the sofa?

When does he toss the blanket on the sofa arm so it will be handy at the crucial moment he needs it to cover the briefcase?


And that briefcase - it's at the center of the fairly new farce "Funny Money," by well-known farce writer Ray Cooney.

"He's sort of like the Neil Simon of Britain," Love said. Cooney is best known for farces like "Not Now, Darling" and "Move Over Mrs. Markham."

His comedies usually take place amongst the middle class, and many times his leading men are "mouthy guys who end up in the midst of it all and come out on top," Love said.

"As with all farces, people tend to cover up and lie, and it snowballs and gets out of hand," Love said.

Perkins, an accountant, is on his way home on the subway and picks up the wrong briefcase, one that contains 735,000 - more than $1 million.

He decides to keep it and the snowballing ensues.

"Funny Money" was produced in the West End of London, which is similar to Broadway in New York, but never has been produced on Broadway, Love said.

The show is set in London, so the cast of professional actors and actresses put on English accents of varying classes, said Love, who is Totem Pole's associate artistic director.

"Funny Money," with intermission, is about two hours long, he said.

Love always has loved the fast action of farces. However, he said he's past the age at which he can play the leading role in such a production, so he directs them.

"They're very silly, fluffy pieces that the English love and play well here, too," Love said.

'Funny Money'


Meyer De Leeuw as Henry A. Perkins

Tess Hartman as Henry's wife, Jean

Ray Ficca as Vic

Merideth Kaye Clark as Betty

Paris Peet as Detective Davenport

Robert Boardman as Detective Slater

Jeff Lepine as taxi driver Bill

Bradley W. Smith as passerby


Wil Love is director

Paul Mills Holmes is production stage manager

Kate Murphy is assistant stage manager

Kay Yaukey is costume designer

Chris Russo is set designer

Michael D. Domue is lighting designer

If you go ...

WHAT: Totem Pole 2005 season

WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesdays; 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays.

WHERE: Totem Pole Playhouse, east of Fayetteville, Pa.

COST: Tickets range from $23 to $30, $10 for students. Subscription costs range from $115 to $150. Additional $2 for "Nunsense."

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 81 north to exit for U.S. 30 east. Go about 11 miles east to Caledonia State Park, passing signs for Anthony Highway and Black Gap Road. At a traffic light there will be a sign to the right, indicating the entrance to Totem Pole Playhouse. Turn right. Then bear left at the fork in the road to get to the theater.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by calling 1-888-805-7056. For more information, call 1-888-805-7056, e-mail or go to on the Web.

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