Mistaken identities and secrets spilled in Footlight Players new production

| September 13, 2017

COSHOCTON – The nuns at the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing have been selling juice to the community to raise enough funds to keep the convent afloat. But when the two sisters decide to start making wine instead, they quickly realize that the “devil’s drink” will save their convent from financial ruin. Unbeknownst to the sisters at the convent, two news reporters and former fiancés, Sally and Paul go undercover as a nun and priest to expose their secrets.

“Drinking Habits”, a farce by Tom Smith, is sure to make the audience literally laugh out loud as secrets and rekindled love collide on stage. The play was submitted to the Footlight Player officers for their consideration by Jon Cotterman, who directs the production.

“For the officers to consider a play, it has to have audience appeal and be appealing to the community, and I think this play definitely has that,” said Cotterman.

The play features a well-diverse cast with some appearing in their first season while others are seasoned thespians. They began rehearsals in August and are now fine-tuning their performance for opening night.

The two news reporters Paul and Sally are being portrayed by Mark and Michelle Kittel, who are both seasoned theatre veterans.

“She (Sally) is a very strong female and I’ve played strong females before, but I haven’t played this kind of a character in a farce,” said Michelle. “And I get to play against my husband which is cool.”

Her husband Mark said the two have a passion for theatre and in addition to being in the Coshocton Footlight Players together, have played opposite each other at a dinner theatre in New York in a production called, “Happy Anniversary, Angel. Love, Gino”.

“It’s something that we love to do,” he said. “We play opposite each other in real life as well. We’ve gotten in the habit of reviewing scripts together and assessing it to see if it’s something that would work for this theatre. Do we have the talent and actors to fit these roles? We spend a lot of time doing theatre, even when we’re not at the theatre.”

Michelle said that one reason she enjoys playing Sally is because she’s a strong, independent woman that Michelle can relate to and hopes other women in the audience do as well.

“This story takes place at a time when women weren’t common in journalism and my character is a journalist,” she said. “She is on a mission and she’s not going to stop until she fulfills her mission and I can identify with that.”

Mark said that Paul and Sally are different from roles the two have portrayed in the past.

“Paul and Sally are a little bit more like Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally),” he said. “They’re not really too much like us but enough like us for us to both hook into it and make it work.”

Mark and Michelle aren’t the only married couple who are members of the cast. Bryan and Dana Kittner are portraying Father Chanelle and Sister Augusta respectively. Dana is a seasoned veteran of the Coshocton Footlight Players and this is Bryan’s first play.

Dana has portrayed a lot of nuns in the past in various productions but this is the first time she has portrayed a nun in a comedy.

“I was surprised that the physical humor came naturally,” she said. “She’s (Augusta) very bossy so my family would probably think I could identify with that. She likes to fix problems but doesn’t like to spill the beans to her Mother Superior. She’s always maneuvering and as a mom, you’re always trying to maneuver. I think the storyline is really endearing. It’s definitely a lot of humor instead of the seriousness of others.”

Bryan said he had wanted to do a play at the Triple Locks for a while and decided to start with “Drinking Habits”.

“It’s something that my wife and I can do together,” he said. “It’s fun for us to work on our parts together and I also like interacting with people in the community.”

Father Chanelle is a likeable character with a surprise on his true identity revealed later in the play.

“He likes people and seems to be pretty down to earth,” said Bryan. “I like this character because he kind of makes a new start in life and there’s redemption in that. It’s just a fun piece.”

Amanda Gress who plays Sister Mary Katherine, is originally from Louisiana. She has been in numerous Footlight Players productions in the past and produced “Forever Plaid” and was the stage manager for “The Wizard of Oz”.

“She’s (Sister Mary Katherine) quite interesting in the fact that she has a secret and wants to confess because she feels guilty,” said Gress. “The funny part is she thinks she’s hearing voices of God and the devil. She’s not quite sure she wants to be a nun because she still remembers the groundskeeper she fell in love with.”

She started being involved with the Coshocton Footlight Players about four or five years ago when she first moved here from Louisiana.

“Any excuse to do anything with the theatre, I’m all in,” she said.

Tickets for the show are $12 for adults and $7 for students and can be purchased on the Coshocton Footlight Players website, footlightplayers.com or by calling the box office at 740-622-2959. You can now buy tickets for each production and Cotterman recommends getting the season pass for all four shows as it is cheaper. Season pass ticket holders can use all four tickets for each show or they can bring friends and family to a show and use all tickets for one show.

“Drinking Habits” will be performed at the Triple Locks Theatre on Oct. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 8 p.m. There will be an Oct. 15 performance at 2 p.m. Box office phone opens Sept. 25.

The next performance of the Coshocton Footlight Players will be Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” and will be performed in December.

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    Beth Scott

    About the Author ()

    I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.