“Rumors” – Mimes and Mummers

From Nov. 11 to 14, the Mimes and Mummers performed “Rumors” by Neil Simon. (Courtesy of Sara Tsugranis/The Fordham Ram)

From Nov. 11 to 14, the Mimes and Mummers performed “Rumors” by Neil Simon. (Courtesy of Sara Tsugranis/The Fordham Ram)

From Nov. 11 to 14, the Mimes and Mummers performed “Rumors” by Neil Simon. I had the opportunity to see the production at their final performance on Sunday, and it was fantastic. Set in the 1980s at Snedden’s Landing, a wealthy suburb of New York City, at the anniversary party of the Deputy Mayor, the play is reimagined as during a pandemic and the cast all wore masks during the performance. Regarding putting on the play during a pandemic, Director Richard Joyce included a statement in the “Mimesbill,” saying, “After more than a year of not gathering in public, of theatres and performing venues being dark — there is some grace and some catharsis in the act of gathering the community together just to laugh.” Joyce has a BA from Dartmouth and MFA in Directing from the Actors Studio Drama School/New School University and has directed many university productions.

The set design was beautiful, with retro furniture that truly mimicked a shi-shi home straight out of a film depicting 1980s yuppies. The costume design also perfectly embodied the characters’ personalities as well as the style of the period the film is set in. All of the aesthetics came together to set the perfect scene for the actors to take their places. 

Deputy Mayor Charlie Brock and his wife Moira are supposed to celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary with friends, but when their first guests arrive, Moira is nowhere to be found and Charlie has attempted suicide. “Rumors” is misleading, with the play immediately presenting a sensitive situation, and those unfamiliar with the play would think it a dark play. It is actually a witty and fun play that has the audience laughing.

Mikey Duffy, FCRH ’23, and Julia Mazurek, FCRH ’23, have fantastic comedic chemistry as Ken and Chris Gorman, the couple who initially find Charlie. The Gormans try to cover for the Brocks and hide what is going on from the other guests that arrive, but they fail. They almost immediately tell the next guests Lenny and Claire Ganz, played by Jackson Saunder, FCRH ’25, and Keagan Ostop, FCRH ’25, respectively. 

The Ganz’s discuss their marriage troubles and tennis club drama as the Gormans try to protect the Brocks’ reputation. Saunder and Ostop are wonderful and very believable as an upper class, WASP couple from the ’80s. But Saunders’ performance in particular as Lenny Ganz and his strong role in the ending of the play was a standout performance.

Oddball couples the Cusacks, played by Richard Putorti, FCRH ’23, and Nina Siwik, FCRH ’23, and the Coopers, played by Sean Kelliher, FCRH ’23, and Kiera Mullany, FCRH ’23, add to the bizarreness of the play. Police officers Welch and Pudney, played by Lucia Stephensons, FCRH ’24, and Milicia Prisic, FCRH ’25, add their charm at the end of the play as tough but unrealistic officers who accept what they are told transpired that night.

The language of the play is clever and delivered well. Siwik remarks how she wore her dress not to muscular dystrophy in June, but emphysema in August. Of course she means functions for those causes, but again, the line and delivery reinforces the tone of somewhat out of touch upper class New Yorkers dealing with a serious situation in the silliest ways possible.

“Rumors” was yet another outstanding production by the Mimes and Mummers. Be sure to attend their future shows.