For better or worse, Oscar Madison and Felix Ungar will be together again this weekend, in Needham High School’s production of “The Odd Couple.”
Performed by members of the NHS Theatre Arts Society, the show is based on the 1965 play by Neil Simon, which was later adapted both for a film (1968) and a television series (1970-75). The play will run on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the NHS auditorium.
Though many viewers may be familiar with the story of the two mismatched roommates, here is a brief synopsis for those who aren’t:
“The show is about two friends, Oscar and Felix, who are both divorced, and they end up moving in together and find that their personalities clash more than a little bit,” explained Mollie Baker, a NHS junior who plays one of the Pigeon sisters, who go on a double date with the boys.
“Felix is very neat and Oscar is very not neat, so living together they get in a lot of funny arguments,” added Miranda Knox, a sophomore who plays the second Pigeon sister. “The whole thing’s framed around the weekly poker game that they have with their mutual friends, who come to Oscar’s house every Friday night.”
Oscar and Felix are played by real-life friends Max Schapiro and Michael Jay, who do a great job of bringing the characters to life.
“I think that the chemistry between Michael, who plays Felix, and Max, who plays Oscar, is phenomenal. They’re very funny together,” Baker said. “They’re both really funny people separately, and then together, something about them is absolutely hysterical.”
Director Alison Sherman agrees the guys have “a great rapport” and said the show promises to be a fun one for the audience.
“It’s really relatable, really great situational humor, great physical humor and great characters,” Sherman said.
Every year, the NHS Theatre Arts Society performs two plays—one in the fall and one in the spring—separate from the school’s annual spring musical (this year: “The Drowsy Chaperone”). The fall play tends to be more dramatic, and that was certainly the case with this year’s fall production, “Spoon River Anthology,” a series of scenes that explored themes of life, death, love and regret.
“We definitely needed something lighter after ‘Spoon River’—that was pretty heavy,” Sherman said. “And we were looking for something with a big draw. ‘The Odd Couple’ has that name that everyone knows.”
Tickets to “The Odd Couple” cost $5 each and are available at the door or in advance by calling the NHS Fine and Performing Arts Department at 781-455-0800 ext. 2440. Doors will open at 7 p.m., with the curtain to go up at 7:30.