(From left to right) Joshua McCreary, Andrew Knoche, Molly Mackenzie and Michael Faulkner perform last year. Photo by Joe Milmoe.

This is a tale of dysfunction, hormones, and getting older. But it is also a tale of finding first love in, of all places, Bogota, New Jersey.

The Mason Players are beginning their fall 2010 season of theater productions this week with David Lindsay-Abaire’s hit comedy, Kimberly Akimbo. The show revolves around Kimberly Levaco, a girl with an aging disease much like progeria, causing her to age about four times faster than usual.

“She tries to grab onto every good thing,” said senior communication major Beth Wherry, who stars as Kimberly. “By the end of every scene, something has beaten Kim back down.” Despite being jaded and sarcastic, Kimberly has many moments of being genuinely endearing—a trait that is expressed especially around love interest Jeff McCracken.

“Jeff just has a really big heart,” said sophomore undeclared major Rafael Medina, who plays Jeff. “He’s very optimistic.”

Jeff is a member of the “Junior Wordsmiths of America” and his hobbies include anagrams and Dungeons and Dragons. “He is a very real character. I try to stray away from the stereotypical nerd,” said Medina.

Kimberly lives with her pregnant, hypochondriac mother Pattie and her alcoholic father Buddy, played by sophomore theater major Katie Brunberg and senior theater major Michael Burgos.

The relationship between the two is wonderfully dynamic and theirs with Kimberly throughout the play is complicated as everyone struggles with secrets and her condition.
“Buddy is a departure for me. He is a father and an alcoholic – two things I’m not,” said Michael Burgos. “I think I finally broke through though.”

The wonderful performances in the opening scenes given by Wherry, Medina, and Burgos get great laughs and set up the tone for the rest of the show. The next scene opens up with Pattie giving a hilarious monologue into a tape recorder for her yet-unborn daughter.

Katie Brunberg shows impeccable timing and expression and is a wonderful contrast to the otherwise calm Kimberly. Later on, the audience is introduced to Kimberly’s crazy, homeless aunt Debra played by sophomore theater major Cathryn Benson. She has an eclectic and eccentric personality that is done wonderfully by Benson. Everything Debra does and says is so funny, it hurts.

“We’ve done so much growth as a cast,” said Wherry. “There’s been so much character development.”

“I like the intimacy of such a small cast,” said Burgos. With a group of only five, the audience is able to learn so much and come to know each actor and character.
“I’m elated with the cast and the production team. It really has been a collaborative effort,” said director and senior theater major Maxie Morales. “It’s an endearing comedy. I just love it. I’m hoping and expecting a fantastic show.”

Kimberly Akimbo features talented actors and shows a lot of great work on stage and behind the scenes. It’s truly a marvelous way to start the Fall season. Preview for the show is Wednesday October 6th and opening night is Thursday October 7th with shows through Sunday.