Laughs a matter of 'Coarse' for RCT

The cast of Four Plays for Coarse Actors rehearse a scene at the Rochester Civic Theatre. The production runs June 1 -17. Pictured, from left, are James Preiss; Tommy Rinkoski; Denise Ruemping; Bria Carr; Angus Russell; Anastasiya Nartovich; Nick Rudlong and David Kelly.

After 60 years, Rochester Civic Theatre is ready to enjoy a laugh at its own expense.

The theater's new production, "Four Plays for Coarse Actors," is a comedy that reveals what happens when even the best intentions go awry. The play, which is the concluding production in the 2011-2012 60th anniversary season, opens June 1.

The setting for the play is a church fundraising event.

"Local theater companies are putting on these short plays to help the church raise money," said Greg Miller, who is directing the show. "And of course, anything that can go wrong does go wrong."

Audiences don't always see the backstage chaos or catch the onstage mistakes — misspoken lines, misplaced props, collapsing sets  — that happen in nearly every show. But those goofs are there for everyone to see in "Four Plays for Coarse Actors."


"People say this is far-fetched," Miller said. "No, not really. All of the stuff that happens in this show has actually happened in shows I've worked on or been in."

The play was developed by an amateur theater company in Scotland that decided to come up with a show that would make fun of themselves and the world of theater.  From that, the idea expanded to include four short plays, each done in a different dramatic style, from a murder-mystery to Shakespeare.

"The neat thing is that we're poking fun at ourselves at the end of our 60th anniversary season," Miller said. "Folks might come and say, 'I saw a play where that happened.'"

The cast, which includes several RCT veterans, might feel the same way. "If you're a theater insider, it's even funnier," Miller said.

On the other hand, if anything really does go wrong in this show, Miller and his cast members can pass it all off as simply part of the act.

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