Arts and Humanities set to stage modern comedy

A full Conron Hall anticipated for tonight's opening of Office Hours

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A scene from Office Hours

Courtesy of Ben Singer

AHSC HEARTS NORM FOSTER. The cast of Office Hours runs through a dress rehearsal in preparation for this evening’s opening performance at Conron Hall.

The Arts and Humanities Student Council is set to dazzle audiences with its upcoming comedy, Office Hours, opening tonight at Conron Hall.

Written by Canadian playwright Norm Foster, the story takes place in Toronto at the end of a long workweek. The play depicts a diverse group of characters including an over-the-hill reporter, a young lawyer, an overweight soon to be fired jockey, as well as a psychiatrist dealing with a crazed figure skater. While it may seem like these characters have nothing in common, in the end the audience sees the ties that relate them.

Production of Office Hours began last October and producer Ben Singer is pleased with how the show has come together.

“We started casting last semester ... we advertised for auditions within the arts and humanities community because we really wanted to produce something that the faculty can be proud of to call their own,” he says.

The small cast of 16 students each has one or two scenes, which according to Singer “really allows each actor to build their own character.” Rehearsing for the play is not easy, but Singer notes, “Everyone has had to be very flexible with their schedules ... we didn’t want to have actors missing class and have tried to focus on academics first.”

The cast of the show is looking to build on the success of last year’s Bedtime Stories " another Foster work " and they are hoping for a capacity crowd.

Marissa Joffre, a third-year history student, is thrilled to be a member of the cast. She started out selling programs and tickets for last year’s production, but returned this year after being cast as Pamela, the bossy news station manager’s wife.

“Pamela’s character is a young narcissist; she always gets her way, is inappreciative of others, and thinks that Warren, the veteran reporter, is below her because he is old,” Joffre says.

When asked about her reasons for volunteering her time for the play, Joffre cites two things: “I love acting and I really enjoy the script by Norm Foster ... I think he is really funny and his modern comedy is unlike renaissance literature or Shakespeare.”

Office Hours will be playing March 10 and 11 at Conron Hall at 7 p.m. Tickets are being sold in the University Community Centre atrium and are $5 in advance and $7 at the door.

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