‘Unnecessary Farce:’ a comedy success

On opening night, Nov. 15, 2018, I attended the Joliet Junior Colleges Fine Arts department play named “Unnecessary Farce.” The play is created by Paul Slade Smith, but directed by JJC’s own Tammy Perkins, and co-directed by part-time theatre assistant Frank Rosales.

The play itself was first performed on Oct. 27, 2006, in Lansing, Michigan. The fine arts department at JJC has preparing to put on this play for the past couple of weeks, putting in countless hours of rehearsal and dedication. The play consisted of a small cast with a total of only seven cast members that made an appearance throughout the entire show. The characters consisted of students from JJC and other surrounding colleges.

Some of the things I noticed opening night was the overwhelming amount of laughter during the entire show. I took note of the acting, jokes and cues used during the show as well.  I also paid attention to the audience’s reaction when jokes were told, or a character/s were being sarcastic.

The plot of the story was one that was very interesting. In the show there were a bunch of plot twists, secrets and mysteries that took place. The story took place in a motel, with the stage set up with two beds and two different rooms that were connected by a door in the middle. Each of the rooms had a bathroom and a closet.

The character Erick (Kelley Beggs), was partnered with Officer Billie (Ashley Billings) and in accomplice with the accountant, Karen (Amy Zajac). The beginning of the play opens with Erick being woken up by his police chief on the phone. He then gets a knock at the door from Billie, who brings him donuts.

The three of them were in the motel the night before to set up a video camera in Karen’s suite. Karen was supposed to have a conversation with the Mayor (Josh Ariva) to talk about missing funds and mob ties. The plan was to catch the Mayor admitting to his fraudulent behavior, but that quickly took an interesting turn.

Then Erick knocks on the door of the accountant to remind her of the interview she is supposed to have with the Mayor. Once they’re all ready and up, we then enter the scene where the Mayor is introduced. He enters confused as to why they are having a meeting in a motel, but he is willing to talk, and he seems innocent. While in the middle of the Mayor and accountant talking someone is banging on the door.

There is a scene where Agent Frank (Clint Chesire) is first introduced to the audience. Frank then comes in and inspects the room, claiming to be a protector of the Mayor. Frank then looks for recording devices and hidden video cameras, but he finds nothing. His character stands out for his authenticity because he is playing someone who is supposed to be the tough guy, but the audience soon finds out that he is indeed the opposite. Frank then tells everyone about the so-called Scotsman who is supposedly out to get the Mayor.

The name of the Scotsman is Todd, (Ben Davis). Todd then shows up and ties up Billie in a later scene, and plans to kill her. The audience then finds out that Frank is working for the Scotsman, not the Mayor. Mysteriously, when the Mayor leaves the room his wife, Mary (Savana Alexis) periodically makes an appearance claiming to not know where her husband is at.

The humor and mystery of the situation is that every time the Mayor leaves, his wife appears. But the audience will soon learn that all the characters will soon all have connections to each other, and the story line will come full circle.

The revealing scene ends with the audience finding out that the Mayor’s wife was married to Todd and runs a whole scheme business behind her husband’s back. The Mayor’s wife, the Scotsman and Frank are then arrested after a hostile confrontation scene. Erick, Billie and Karen all help expose the crooks who were trying to ruin the Mayors good name.

I was impressed with way the stage was set up and the acting was amazing. Many moments throughout the show were hilarious. The play overall was filled with sarcasm, jokes and humor which I love. The show would not have been as good without the good effects done by the lighting, sound and production crew. I overall would give this play a 9/10 and a thumbs up.