For the first time since 2006, the host theatre will also be a presenter as Oshawa Little Theatre takes the stage tonight with their production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, representing the Association of Community Theatres—Central Ontario (ACT-CO).
Oshawa Little Theatre owes its existence to Verna Conant. In 1928, she had a vision to create a community theatre and hired a professional director to instruct local actors. In the early 1980s the membership decided to build their own theatre and obtained a Wintario grant. This, together with some amazing contributions from businesses and individuals, set the wheels in motion to build today’s 360-seat facility adjacent to the old rehearsal room and workshop, which opened in 1983. Oshawa Little Theatre previously hosted Festivals in 1991 and 2003. This is their first time representing ACT-CO in 35 years, last appearing at Festival in 1980 with a production of The Diary of Anne Frank adapted by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.
This classic comedy opens as a group of the guys assembled for cards in the apartment of divorced Oscar Madison. And if the mess is any indication, it’s no wonder that his wife left him. Late to arrive is Felix Unger who has just been separated from his wife. Fastidious, depressed and none too tense, Felix seems suicidal, but as the action unfolds Oscar becomes the one with murder on his mind when the clean-freak and the slob ultimately decide to room together with hilarious results as The Odd Couple is born.
At the 2015 ACT-CO Festival, Oshawa Little Theatre won Best Production of a Comedy and Best Performance by a Male in a Leading Role (Will van der Zyl as Felix Ungar), with nominations for Best Director, Best Performance by a Male in a Leading Role (James Burrell as Oscar Madison), and Best Set Design.