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Potomac Playmakers present the farce 'Lying in State'

Potomac Playmakers present the farce 'Lying in State'

May 14, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

The hardest part about "Lying in State" is that it challenges actors to be both silly and authentic.

Go too far toward the silly side and you end up with an over-the-top political farce. But if your actors don't commit, you're left with a vapid comedy.

Director Peggy Hardinge said the challenge was the reason she picked the play to close out the Potomac Playmakers' inaugural season at the Academy Theater Banquet & Conference Center.

"I do feel like I know my comedy, and I feel like I can wrap my hands around these characters," Hardinge said.


"Lying in State" opens Friday night and will continue through the weekend, with more shows set for Thursday, May 21, through Sunday, May 24.

The play is a farce written by David C. Hyer. The death of an unpopular politician - yes, the play's title is a play on words - sparks the plot. The setting is in the funeral parlor where an eccentric bunch are left to grieve.

"He's barely cold before they're fighting to take his senate seat," Hardinge said.

Hardinge said she really relied on the cast to bring the script to life.

"This play could have been a bit lackluster," she said. "It's totally the delivery."

Hardinge said most of her actors are getting the balance right, and those who were still getting acquainted with their eccentric characters would be ready by the time the curtain went up.

She said her lead characters have been dead on at dress rehearsals.

Stand-up comedian Lyn Rial is cast as the leading lady, Edna. Jeff Czerbinski is the lead guy, Herb. Longtime thespian Al Gardner is cast as Harry, Herb's inebriated, famous author brother.

Hardinge said the actress for the role the former stripper, Buttons - the dead senator's fiance - did not surface at auditions. So she offered the part to Erika Jarecki, with whom she had performed in past shows.

"Their talent is what adds the sincerity, the genuineness so that you don't mind the silliness," Hardinge said.

If you go ...

WHAT: "Lying in State," presented by The Potomac Playmakers

WHEN: Premiers 8 p.m. Friday, May 15. Shows continue Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17, and Thursday, May 21, through Sunday, May 24. Sunday shows are at 3 p.m., all other shows at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Academy Theater Banquet & Conference Center, 58 E. Washington St., Hagerstown. The theater is at the former Tusing Warehouse in City of Hagerstown's central lot downtown.

COST: $16; tickets cost $14 for age 65 and older, and students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For tickets, call 301-797-8182

MORE: Learn more about the Potomac Playmakers online at

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