A man grief-stricken by the death of his Mother hires actors to come to his house a few times a week and be his family but things don’t go quite as he planned.
The Actors won The Hive inaugural production contest and it was the first production in their new theater in Provo, Utah.
5 Actors: 4 Men 1 Woman
Cast could be any race and the ages are flexible.
Wilton Theater Factory, The Foundry
Wilton Manors, FL 2022
The Hive Collaborative
Provo, Utah 2018
Reviews from the production at The Foundry in Wilton Manors
"Larsen's best ever. Don't be surprised if Hollywood takes notice and a film or television adaptation follows. The Actors is that good."
JW Arnold, SouthFloridaGayNews.com
"An unqualified success! Cast of veteran pros including Larsen, Jeni Hacker, David Kwiat and Jerry Seeger — all at the top of their comedy game thanks to the peerless direction of Stuart Meltzer."
Bill Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com
"The Actors with hints of Pirandello and Shakespeare...Larsen demonstrates a Neil Simon-like ability to deftly balance humor with pathos."
Aaron Krause, TheatricalMusings.com
"This gem of a play—easily the prolific Larsen’s best yet—is a stellar production and one of the funniest shows to grace a South Florida stage in years. Do not miss it. If you don’t laugh, you need your funny bone examined."
Mary Damiano, MaryDamiano.com
"Ronnie said he waited to assemble the perfect cast and director before bringing his play to town and I must say he’s, once again, outdone himself in the writing, acting and presentation. Even the set is better than ever."
Mindy Leaf, Around Town Magazine
Reviews from the production at The Hive in Utah
The Daily Universe review:
The Hive Collaborative’s ‘The Actors’ is a heartwarming play about family
By Erica West August 20, 2018
The Hive Collaborative theater is an unassuming red brick building across from Provo Station, just off of Freedom Boulevard. The cozy theater opens August 17 with the world premier of The Actors, a heartwarming play about the importance of family.
The Hive is unique in that it plans to only show new plays, rather than traditional classics.
“We’re opening a brand new theater and only showing new plays. You might think we’re crazy,” Ken Agle said when he introduced the show to a VIP preview audience.
The play is about Ronnie, a lonely, middle-aged man who is struggling to get over the deaths of his parents. He misses the feeling of having a family, so he hires two actors to play his mom and dad.
The beginning of the show is awkward, quirky and hilarious. The pretend mother and father dress up in the 70s outfits of Ronnie’s childhood and get into character, reenacting scenes from his childhood.
However, as the play progresses, Ronnie starts to realize they are acting out scenes of what he wants a family to be, not scenes of what a family truly is.
He realizes that even though his parents are no longer living, he has other “real” family members that he can reconnect with.
The quirky story ends on a heartwarming and emotional note as Ronnie discovers what it truly means to be a family.
Because the theater only has 86 seats, each audience member is close to the stage and feels connected to the action. People can come to a show, laugh together, cry together and enjoy an evening of theater.
Front Row Reviewers:
The Actors — Nightmare or Dream Come True? in Inaugural Offering from Provo’s The Hive Collaborative
The Hive, a new theater venture in Provo, is hosting the world premiere of The Actors, by Ronnie Larsen, and if the preview night was any indication, Utah County is in for a great ride. The Hive Collaborative producers Ken Agle and Dennis Agle are admittedly ambitious and unashamedly delighted to bring this theater experience to the Provo area. Family Agle are prominently featured in the production elements of The Actors and were excellent hosts for the preview night. The mission of The Hive Collaborative is to showcase new and yet undiscovered works with a focus on optimism and hope. It is an exciting prospect for me (I love new plays) and should be for anyone who loves creating. Their ambitious schedule embraces eight productions a year of new theater. Talk about the good in Utah Arts.
The theater is located just north of the Amtrak station in Provo in the industrial area near the train tracks and City Center. This area is being revitalized by the city, with new apartments and shopping areas, so the updated warehouse space of The Hive is an excellent addition to the old-is-new vibe. There is limited street parking, but the business to the east allows theater patron parking and is just a short walk either around the street side or behind the building to the north down a nice alleyway.
As I entered the theater, I was immediately impressed by the space. It is well constructed, clean and modern with a rustic feel, distinctive signage and a casual ambience. The chairs are comfortable and the space inviting. This was the preview night, so I arrived to mingling, snacks, and a variety of desserts and drinks, and even a photo op area. The buzz of a new venue, new play, new projects, and new art was palpable.
Patrick Newman leads the cast as both the protagonist (Ronnie Larsen) and the director, both the director of The Actors as well as the director of Ronnie’s actors. Ronnie is a middle-aged single man who is still in mourning after the untimely death of his parents. To process and assuage his grief, he devises a creative/weird plan: cast actors to play his parents. Just a couple of hours a week. It is weird, but also … well, weird … but also … perhaps brilliant. His dream is to relive the pleasant and loving moments of his life by having a family again. Hailey Nebeker plays the actress playing Ronnie’s mother, and though reluctant (but also eagerly in need of a paycheck) agrees to take a part in Ronnie’s “production.” Nebeker’s split duties of anxious actress and doting mother are seamless, eventually blending into one. Her emotions read true, alternately being vulnerable and then wearing the mask of the character. She is easy to watch. The humor in the weirdness is delightful. Geoff Means slouches, dad-jokes, and embraces the role(s) of Ronnie’s father and actor-employee. Means is never rushed and enjoys both his character as well as his character’s character to the fullest. His silent soliloquy is groaningly delightful.
At some point, however, all of Ronnie’s best plans go awry. I mean, he wants a family, and “families are messy,” and soon Ronnie’s dream starts looking like the stuff of nightmares. Newman captures such a great range of emotions as Ronnie, from dismal ennui to moments of sheer joy. His Ronnie is endearing and captivating, especially as he uncomfortably tries to recruit his substitute mother and then later pleads with his substitute father: “Don’t fall in love with your wife!”
As in all families, the more the crazier, and the addition of Will McAllister and Kyle Baugh effectively bring the whole delusion crashing down. McAllister and Baugh are great additions to the company, adding a new level of … well, weird. Baugh portrays the new addition to the family with gusto and gastronomy, loudly and brashly taking over the already cramped space, making room for himself by eating all the food in the house. McAllister’s character adds a depth and breadth of emotions in an entirely new layer of reality to Ronnie’s world, bringing the story to a new and higher level, but effectively ending the charade. (On select dates, Jericho Lopez and Gideon Burton fill these roles.)
Newman’s direction is notable in its lack of notice. The characters move easily throughout the space. The set is specific and relevant. The 70s throwbacks add a great touch to Ronnie’s dream world and the music is perfect. Aside from minor “opening night” glitches, the show is clean and unified. It did start to feel a little long in the second act, but I am confident pacing will improve through the run. The Actors is a great piece of work, and the author, cast, crew, and producers have something to be proud of. I am excited to see what future productions will bring.
I am most excited about the prospect of more new work, more original plays, and more ambitious and aggressive pursuit of fresh, relevant, and uplifting theater. If you love theater, I recommend supporting The Hive with your attendance. Their mission of attracting new scripts may prove to be a dream come true for local playwrights and provide more opportunities for local actors and tech crew. You may secure the potential for your own personal involvement in their collaborative efforts, but you absolutely will enjoy a wonderful show.