Friends play Trivial Pursuit in "The Odd Couple (Female Version)." Courtesy photo
Friends play Trivial Pursuit in "The Odd Couple (Female Version)." Courtesy photo

Friendship at heart of ‘The Odd Couple’

Avery Villines wasn’t completely sold on directing Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple (The Female Version)” at first, but the heart of the story depicted in one scene was one thing that drew her in.

Friends seated around a table playing a game of Trivial Pursuit with the questions prompting memories of their younger years as well as much laughter resonated with her.

The show will be performed at Presidential Dinner Theatre, formerly Fort Gordon Dinner Theatre, for two weekends beginning May 3.

Like the polar opposite personalities of Olive and Florence, the friends have different personalities, yet they don’t allow their differences to divide them. Those differences, she said, seal their bonds.

Presidential Dinner Theatre presents a female version of “The Odd Couple” the first two weekends in May. Courtesy photo

That’s a message that “still holds true” nearly 40 years after Simon wrote it, she said, and it’s a message that’s needed today.

The play also has the same hilarious moments and witty dialogue that only Neil Simon could write

Another thing she likes about the play is that in the female version, the supporting characters have more than cameo roles as the characters playing poker with Oscar in the original did. They are more fleshed out, adding a depth to the show.

Villines said she’s working with a mix of performers with varying levels of theater experience.

“I have four people I’ve never worked with,” she said. “It’s nice to have new faces.”

Among the cast are strong veteran performers such as Kay Gross in the role of Flo/Florence; the OCD Felix character made famous by Tony Randall in the 1970s’ television show.

Gross is a great comedic actor with a knack for timing, she said.

“Kay gets it,” Villines said.

A few of the other performers aren’t as experienced as Gross, and Villines is working to extract that same sense of timing from them. And she’s enjoying working with them.

The female-driven show is great for a girls’ night out or to celebrate mom with shows leading up to Mother’s Day.

“The Odd Couple” will be performed May 3-5 and 10-11 at Presidential Dinner Theatre, 32100 Third Ave., Fort Eisenhower.  Dinner will be at 6:45 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. May 3,4, 10 and 11 and 1:45 for lunch and 3 p.m. for the matinee on May 5. Tickets are $35-$55.

For reservations, call (706) 793-8552.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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