'The Owl and the Pussycat' at Randall Theatre

Randall Theatre's production of playwright Bill Manhoff's comedy finds middle ground
Nick Walker plays Felix, and Meagan Kirby is Doris, in Randall Theatre's production of "The Owl and the Pussycat."

When Felix, an aspiring but unpublished novelist, complains to his landlord that a call girl is living next door to his San Francisco loft, the woman is evicted. Later, Doris, who turns out to be an aspiring but undiscovered model and actress, arrives at his door demanding lodging for the night. The temporary arrangement leads to the two becoming roommates, and it isn't long before the emotionally charged Doris turns Felix's well-ordered life upside down.

"Bill Manhoff's 'The Owl and the Pussycat' perhaps was far funnier 50 years ago as we looked and laughed at absurd situations," says director Bob Herried in a press release. "With advanced cognitive awareness to human plights, perhaps today's Felix and Doris are akin to tragic heroes.

If you go

What: "The Owl and the Pussycat"

When: Friday and Saturday, March 7-8, and Thursdays through Saturdays, March 13-15 and 20-22; matinees are at 1 p.m. Sundays, March 9, 16 and 23

Where: Randall Theatre, 10 Third St., Medford

Tickets: $20 for the March 7 opening party; $15 for reserved seats at other shows

Call: 541-632-3258 or see www.randalltheatre.com

"The play first hit theaters in 1964," he says. "The Beatles and the sexual revolution were just beginning. Our values were different. Society was far more closed off than today. We used rotary phones, the slide rule was a standard school supply and the calculator was rare and bulky."

The original Broadway production starred Alan Alda and Diana Sands. In 1970, George Segal and Barbra Streisand brought the roles to the big screen in the film version.

Randall Theatre Company's production of "The Owl and the Pussycat" kicks off with an opening-night party at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 7, with dinner and a costume contest (come dressed as your favorite '60s beatnik). The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20. Five dollars from each ticket sold opening night will be put toward Randall Theatre's campaign for a new heating and air conditioning system for the venue.

Other shows are at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 8, and Thursdays through Saturdays, March 13-15 and 20-22. Matinees are at 1 p.m. Sundays, March 9, 16 and 23. Reserved seats cost $15 in advance.

The community theater is at 10 Third St., Medford. Tickets and information are available online at www.randalltheatre.com or by calling 541-632-3258. Pay-what-you-want tickets are available 30 minutes before shows.

Herried says the play is about peeling away facades and the struggle to find what's real.

"At the start, the characters are positive they know who they are but, while challenging each other, their worlds unravel. Their desperate attempts at any relationship fail in comedic and tragic demise. It isn't until the two choose honesty that they begin self-discovery.

"These are strong-willed individuals, one hiding behind his intelligence and the other letting emotion control her life," Herried says. "Our 'owl' is a man of mind and intellect. His thinking is rigid and very black and white. Our 'cat' is all about emotions. Angry one moment and in tears the next.

"Intellect without emotion is nothing more than calculation," he says. "Absolute with problems but void of soul. Emotion without intellect is nothing more than chaos. Feelings are energy in motion without focus."

Meagan Kirby stars as Doris, and Nick Walker is Felix in Randall's production of "The Owl and the Pussycat." Walker played Rodger in Randall's production of Peter Wickliffe's comedy "Black Friday." Kirby appeared in Randall's "Scrooge! A Magical Musical" as Jocelyn Jollygoode.

Herried directed "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol" at Camelot Theatre.

"Randall's production of 'The Owl and the Pussycat' takes two damaged souls and brings them together to discover if — through trial and error — they can find their souls and, perhaps, each other," Herried says. "Through these trials and tribulations, there is comedy, but there is sadness as well — as it should be. That's what, I think, we call life."

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