An old man, a young woman, and a con artist are the main characters of Wrong Turn at Lungfish, the story of an erudite college professor who is going blind and is in the hospital, dying.
A young woman volunteers to read to the professor, but what he doesn t know is that the woman s boyfriend has hatched a plot to get the professor to leave her his money.
“Believe it or not, it s a comedy,” says John Henry, who directs the play opening tonight at the Village Players Theatre.
The professor and the young woman are direct opposites, Henry says. “He s brilliant, but irritated and angry that he s dying. She s streetwise but an absolute ditz.” To the surprise of both, they have a lot to learn from each other, and therein lies the comedy.
The play, which was written by Lowell Ganz and Garry Marshall, who directed such films as Pretty Woman and Beaches, originally starred George C. Scott, Jamie Gertz, and Tony Danza.
The production stars Players veterans Norb Mills and Ben Lumbrezer and Rachel Wengrow, who made her Players debut last year. Angela Gage rounds out the cast. A veteran of the Players stage crew and technical team, she gets first speaking role in Lungfish.
“We re having a wonderful time with this one,” Henry says. “What I did was have my auditions in July and gave everybody the script. I told them to show up for rehearsals with their parts memorized. We ve spent all this time working on the characters, something we generally get to do only on the last week of rehearsals. As a result, we ve really been able to fine-tune things.”
Lungfish, Henry says, is light and funny, but it s not exactly family-friendly. The humor gets to be quite adult, he explains.
“It s a wonderful play, and I can t imagine why more community theaters haven t done it,” he says.
“Wrong Turn at Lungfish” opens tonight and runs through Nov. 22 at the Village Players Theatre, 2740 Upton Ave. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 16. Tickets are $14 with $2 discounts for seniors and students. Information: 419-472-6817.
- NANCIANN CHERRY
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