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What friendship really means: NRHS to stage 'The Odd Couple: The Female Version'

NRHS drama department students Maggie Marx, Zoe Ledo, Lydia D'Amico and Nevaeh Brewer run through a rehearsal of the school’s upcoming play, “The Odd Couple: The Female Version.” Performances of the show will take place Friday, March 29-Sunday, March 31, in the high school auditorium. Submitted photo

Friendship isn't an easy thing to understand and there is no easy way to explain why two vastly different people become and stay friends. The New Richmond High School will do its best to show what it means to be best friends, even when the relationship is a bit odd, when it performs "The Odd Couple: The Female Version" Friday, March 29-Sunday, March 31.

"I selected this play based on the strengths of the students that I saw in the fall show. I knew that I had several strong female actors and I wanted to pick a script that would showcase their talents," said director Ashley Steiner. "I really lucked out with this group of students. The relationships they have with each other from the start has really been in favor of the show.

"These students work so well together and hold each other accountable. They have really become very comfortable with the story and script in a short amount of time, which will be very apparent come performance time."

Performances will start with a 7 p.m. show on Friday, followed by a 7 p.m. show Saturday and a 2 p.m. show Sunday. Tickets are available at the door for $8 (adults) or $6 (students/seniors) or online for $7/$5 at our.show/nrhsoddcouple.

"We are piloting an online ticket sale company. We are also partnering with Mei Mei's Cookies and Creamery from River Falls to offer an original Odd Couple cookie at intermission," Steiner said.

The Odd Couple: Female Version follows the lives of friends Olive Madison and Florence Unger. When Florence is dumped by her husband, Olive invites her to become roommates, despite the pair's very different personalities.

"I was excited, I had never heard of the play before but when I looked it up I knew right away who I wanted to play," said junior Lydia D'Amico, who plays Sylvie. "The audience should be excited to see this play because it has great comedy, fun characters and a cast that has worked hard to bring this play to life."

Although opening night is approaching quickly, Steiner feels the cast has finally hit its stride and is starting to understand their characters and their relationships to other characters.

"The hardest part of the students is the fact that these are adult characters. The play itself is very natural as far as blocking and staging, but the understanding of situations that the student actors have not experienced personally makes it a bit challenging. It's a great learning opportunity," Steiner said. "They have really had fun with the story and the humorous lines. Overall this has been a very enjoyable process."

A big challenge for the cast has been finding times when they can all meet and use the auditorium to get the feel for the set and their movements across the stage, especially with snow days and other concerts going on in the space.

"The challenge has been scheduling rehearsals so that they work for everyone. That being said, things are going great! The script is very natural and quick to master," said junior Will Chrisco, who is playing Manalo Costazuela. "There are some golden lines in there. If you're a fan of comedy then you will enjoy the 'Odd Couple.'"

Even though the show is a comedy, it deals with some more adult subjects that might not be suitable for young children, Steiner said.

"This isn't the kind of show you'd expect to see at a high school. The humor is gloriously taboo, the rest of the cast is absolutely wonderful, and the show captures the essence of awkward, off-beat interpersonal relations in the best possible way," said junior Caston Lynch, who is playing Jesus Costazuela. "'The Odd Couple' is a great show, but don't be surprised at the more adult themes in it. If you don't want your kids hearing about those, don't bring them."

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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