In Murray Schisgal’s “Extensions,” two vaudevillians experience a barrage of supernatural telephone calls as they wait to hear from their agent.
“They’re waiting for things to happen to them,” said Gabe Caldwell, as he described the premise of the play.
The Ohio Wesleyan University senior is the director of the play’s free local production that will take place at the Chappelear Drama Center Studio Theatre, 45 Rowland Ave., in Delaware at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The play will feature seniors Courtney Dunne and Reggie Hemphill.
Caldwell said the play focuses on the exterior forces that affect the characters. The two ask for rain, but instead get a flood, he said. The play is also a social commentary on unemployment and theater.
“None of which is lost on us who are going into theater,” Caldwell said.
Schisgal has written more than 60 plays throughout his career. He was born in 1926 to Jewish-born immigrants. The native New Yorker gained recognition in 1963 for his plays “The Typist” and “The Tiger,” which earned him the Drama Desk Award. The 90-year-old playwright made his debut on Broadway in 1965 with the play “Luv,” which earned him Tony Award nominations for best play and author. Other awards he’s been nominated include an Oscar and Golden Globe, but has won others from the Writers Guild of America, New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Since Schisgal wrote “Extensions” in the early 1990s, Caldwell said the play has been produced only three times.
Caldwell, Dunne and Hemphill selected the play as their senior spring project. The three have been rehearsing for eight weeks with Alanna Easley and Adrian Burr providing technical assistance. The team will have rehearsals almost every night this week.
Caldwell said they’ve done their job if the audience enjoys the play as half as much as the team enjoyed working on the production.
“We’re all very incredibly proud of the work we’ve done,” he said. “We really put our heart and soul into this piece.”
For information, visit www.owu.edu/TheatreAndDance. Tickets can reserved by calling the box office at 740-368-3855.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.