A Classic Comedy Duo

JUDITH GHOUGASSIAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Anyone who has ever been in
a relationship knows that a
commitment involves
compromise, dedication and
patience. Without these
elements, the partnership is
usually doomed to fail.

The Glendale College Theater
Arts Department presents “The
Odd Couple,” a play by Neil
Simon, which captures the story
of friends whose lives are turned
upside-down by their divorces.

The production consists of male
and female versions, directed by
Brian Dynda and George
Mackey, which are performed
on alternate nights.

As the play begins, the
audience is introduced to Olive
(female version) and Oscar
Madison’s (male version) messy
living room, where the
characters Mickey (Kim
Smyser), Vera (Sophie Pires),
Sylvia (Dominika Ossowska),
and Renee (Selin Merahbian) in
the female version, and Roy (Ian
Felchlin), Speed (Josiah
Baldivino), Vinnie (Nick
Campbell) Murray (David Ace
Frame) in the male version,
gather at the table to play
card games; a typical regimen
that takes place in their
Riverside Drive apartment
Friday evenings.

The friends in both versions
tend to argue incessantly, adding
humor to their presentation. The
topic drifts from Olive (Jessyca
R. Bluwal) and Oscar’s (Jeff
Leatherwood) failed marriages,
to their friends Felix (Val White)
and Florence Unger’s, (Pamela
Eberhardt), sudden divorce. A
dramatic scene erupts between
the friends, as they are all
informed of the news by phone.

Felix, a skinny frail man, and
Florence are both hypochondriacs,
whose marriages fail due
to their compulsive tendencies.
Both characters are extreme
perfectionists along with being
compulsive cleaners. Due to
this, both of their significant
others ask for a divorce, leaving
the characters devastated and
suicidal.

Florence (Felix) eventually
makes an entrance into the home
of Olive (Oscar), and is offered
the opportunity to move in,
considering that Olive (Oscar) is
also divorced and has eight extra
rooms to spare. Florence (Felix)
and Olive (Oscar) decide to live
together and save money to pay
for their alimonies. Soon,
Olive’s (Oscar’s) once messy
living room space transforms
into a spotless masterpiece,
causing the characters to live in
an orderly fashion.

The constant bickering
between Florence (Felix) and
Olive (Oscar) brings them to the
realization that they are in fact
engaging in the marriage they
once escaped. Eventually,
Florence’s (Felix’s) intolerable
behavior of constant cleanliness,
hypochondria, and reminiscence
of the past drives the
unorganized housemate insane,
causing Florence (Felix) to be
kicked out.


In the end, Florence (Felix)
and Olive (Oscar) remain
friends, but merely decide to live
apart from each other, given their
differences in personalities and
lifestyles.

The neighbors who live
upstairs, Gwendolyn (Bonnie
McMahan) and Cecily (Katrina
Rennells) Pigeon, seem to
appreciate Felix and offer to let
him move in, along with the
Spanish brother’s Manolo (Jose
Fernandez) and Jesus Costazuela
(Pablo Antonio Sanchez) who
take in Florence.

One may guess that the
directing in this production took
countless hours of work and
effort from both the cast and
crew; the outcome is very
successful. In both versions, the
acting is brilliant, leaving the
audience laughing at all times.
All of the actors and actresses
portrayed their roles in a mature
manner, bringing along their
own sense of personality and
uniqueness to the plot.
The set design is created very
naturally in this production,
giving the viewer the feeling that
they are in fact observing the
characters from Olive’s
(Oscar’s) living room. The
division between the bedrooms
and the kitchen help give life to
the setting, along with the props
used to create a natural
atmosphere.

The special effects are well
done, along with the lighting,
because the audience is able to
hear the natural noises one may
hear in an apartment, such as
water running in a shower, or a
toilet flushing. All these aspects
contributed to creating a setting in
which the audience felt a part of.
This production with both the
male and female version is very
unique, considering that Simon’s
original script consists only of
the male version.

In 1968 the script was turned
into a film, which starred Jack
Lemmon as Oscar, and Walter
Matthau as Felix, and was
directed by Gene Saks. The script
went on to become a popular
television sitcom in the 1970s.
This script may have been
written by Simon to show the
interaction between people, and
how an individual’s dysfunctional
behaviors can affect others
around them.

Both sets of performances are
well-done, as there is not a
single dull moment in this
production. It is a highly
enjoyable play to watch, and a
script, which will live on for
years and years to come.