By Ashley McCleery

The North Jefferson News

Rumors will run rampant this weekend at Mortimer Jordan High School in their fall production entitled “Rumors” by Neil Simon.

On Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m., Mortimer Jordan theater students will depict four affluent couples that arrive at a New York City townhouse for a dinner party to celebrate a couple’s tenth wedding anniversary.

However, the guests soon discover this is no ordinary party because the hostess is missing, no servants are around and the host has shot himself in the earlobe. While trying to conceal the events from the police and the media, these upper class party guests are caught between comical complications and outrageous rumors.

By the end of the party, the guests are in utter chaos, making up stories to cover the mysterious events. But can they really hide the truth or, really, the truth they’ve concocted from the police?

“We’ve worked really hard on this play, and it’s going to be really good,” theater teacher Julie Meadows said. “It’s a whodunit play in a comical way.”

When Meadows performed “Rumors” at Samford University for her undergraduate theater degree, she said she fell in love with the physical humor and the character’s outlandish behavior. So, she decided to try her favorite play with her first batch of theater students at Mortimer Jordan.

“It’s a play that I’ve always loved and a show that the audience really enjoys and the actors really enjoy doing it,” she said. “The physicality of it is difficult, though. The movements have to be almost choreographed rather than blocked.”

But, she said she picked a difficult play because she has an award-winning cast on board. Just last weekend, all 16 of her theater students received an award at the Trumbauer Theatre Festival. During the competition, judges graded the performers with three classifications: good, excellent and superior.

Those with an excellent grading received a medal, but those awarded a superior grading have the opportunity to compete in the state Trumbauer Theatre Festival in December. All her students received at least an excellent and several received a superior.

“I’m thrilled- beyond thrilled,” Meadows said. “It was an absolute joy watching my students at the award ceremony get up and get their medals.”

Theater student Olivia Bannister who plays Claire, a stuck-up party guest who yells at everyone in her path, said she’s been surprised by the quality of acting in the cast, even the freshman.

“Rehearsing has been great. We’ve got tons of outstanding actors- even the new ones are amazing,” Bannister said. “And the play is absolutely hilarious. It’s going to be a hoot.”

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