Stephens' 'Fuddy Meers' explores challenges of communication

Friday, March 13, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
Rob Doyen, left, and Betsy Shirey run through the opening scene of "Fuddy Meers" during rehearsal on March 5. Doyen's character has to go through the same questions every morning after he informs Shirey's character that she has amnesia.

 COLUMBIA — A quirky new play at Stephens College makes communication something to talk about. "Fuddy Meers," which opens Friday, showcases characters challenged by trying to communicate clearly.

The title, director Lamby Hedge said, is derived from the phrase "fun house mirrors." The show was written by David Lindsay-Abaire and premiered in 1999, according to

If you go

What: "Fuddy Meers," a play by Stephens College students

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday,  2 p.m. Sunday, and 7:30 p.m. Thursday and March 20 

Where: Warehouse Theater, 104 Willis Ave.

Admission: $12 general, $6 students/seniors. Contact the box office for tickets at 876- 7199

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"One of the main characters in this play had a stroke," said Hedge, an assistant professor of theater who has taught at Stephens for more than a decade. "Now, she warps her English spoken words."

Another character isdyslexic, Hedge said. "There is another one who has a lisp. The leading role, Claire, suffers from amnesia," she said.

Claire has to wake up each morning and start everything from the beginning; she relives the same day over and over. At the root of her amnesia is a traumatic experience. Through the increasingly familiar ritual of each day, she inches closer to clarity and memory. 

Hedge said the complex play picks up speed as it goes. "The play is wildly funny. It is moving, revealing," Hedge said. "The audience will enjoy it for more than just its broad comedy, but also for the underlying message it brings."

Freshman Alex Rodriguez plays Kenny, Claire's drug-addicted brat of a son.

"Working with Lamby is pretty intense," Rodriguez said. "I have her as my professor in class — I'm applying everything I learned there to this play."

Senior Sam Cordes plays a schizophrenic man named Millet.

"I relate to Millet in the sense that everyone thinks I'm crazy when, in my mind, I think everyone else is crazy," Cordes said, joking. The character wears a sock puppet on his hand and speaks through it to convey what he really wants to say to avoid becoming nervous and lost.

Cordes has done more than 20 shows since his freshman year at Stephens. "This show is the kind of show I've been wanting to do since I came here," he said. It uses plenty of strong language and adult concepts. Cordes said he was enthusaistic about acting out those aspects of the play.

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