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Scholten switches roles in play, 41 years later

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Audrey Scholten, left, rehearses with Angela Riedeman for the Le Mars Community Theater's upcoming production "Barefoot in the Park." Scholten is portraying the mother's character in the play opening Friday, but 41 years ago she took on the daughter's role played by Riedeman.
When Audrey Scholten becomes a busybody mother in the play "Barefoot in the Park," it will be a role reversal from playing the daughter's character in 1970.

Scholten will step on stage as Ethel Banks in the Le Mars Community Theater production opening Friday at the Postal Playhouse, in Le Mars.

Forty-one years ago at age 30, Scholten played the role of Corie Bratter, the daughter, with the Apple Tree Players, in Winterset.

Mark Strub is debuting as Harry Pepper, a telephone repairman, in "Barefoot in the Park."
So when she heard Le Mars Community Theater was bringing "Barefoot in the Park" back, Scholten said she jumped at the chance to audition.

"I really wanted to play the part of the mother," Scholten said. "I even thought at the time I did Corie that the mother part was funny."

The comedy "Barefoot in the Park" is about newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter. He is a straight-as-an-arrow lawyer and she's a free spirit looking for the latest kick.

Angela Riedeman (Corie) and Michael Phipps (Paul) act out a scene as newlyweds in their very first apartment during rehearsal for "Barefoot in the Park" Monday.
After a six-day honeymoon, the couple gets a surprise visit from Corie's mom, Ethel Banks. The Bratters decided to play matchmaker with their neighbor-in-the-attic Victor Velasco, which leads to a lot of chaos when Corie and Paul don't see eye to eye.

Scholten said she has been enjoying taking on the mother's role and that she and Angela Riedeman, who is playing the daughter, work well together.

"I wonder if when I was Corie, if I had the feeling toward Ethel as Corie (Riedeman) does now about me," Scholten said. "We've almost developed a mother/daughter relationship."

Scholten recalls that playing Corie, when she was 30 years old in 1970, was a lot different than playing Ethel this time around.

"I remember being uncomfortable with all the smooching the newlyweds do," she said. "I remember making my own costumes."

Although Scholten said she can't recite them word for word, Corie's part sounds familiar.

"The lines are coming back to me as she says things and does things," Scholten said.

She likes the supporting role of Ethel Banks and her "more extreme character" better than when she played the more positive leading role of Corie years ago.

"At the age of 30 you like playing a beautiful role, a beautiful person," Scholten said. "When you get to be 71, you want to play a character."

Playing a character is something almost all the other cast members in "Barefoot in the Park" are familiar with, except one.

For Mark Strub, it's his acting debut as Harry Pepper, a telephone repairman who comes to the Bratters' apartment to hook up their telephone line.

"I have not been on stage anywhere since high school," Strub said.

But since all of his children have been in high school theater and enjoyed it, he decided to give it a shot, Strub said.

"It's been fun," he said. "I like being someone else every once in awhile."

Strub said the character he's playing is a small role, perfect for someone starting out in theater.

He said working with the other veteran actors in the cast has also been beneficial.

"Everybody has been able to give me some advice," Strub said. "Everyone has been encouraging, helped me out with relaxing and being myself."

Cast members include Strub, Scholten, Riedeman, Michael Phipps (Paul Bratter), Dan Delperdang (Victor Velasco) along with Jack McDougall, Bob Becker and Byron Bulthuis (delivery men).

Instead of just one actor to play a delivery person, Director Lisa Opheim decided it would be neat to bring back some well-known theater people to participate.

Bulthuis volunteered to fill in as the delivery man during productions when McDougall and Becker couldn't participate.

Opheim noted that both McDougall and Becker have been involved with Le Mars Community Theater for many years.

In fact, McDougall directed "Barefoot in the Park" years ago at the theater, she said.

"It was a good opportunity to bring back some familiar faces," Opheim said. "These people are theater lifers. They love it for what it is."

"Barefoot in the Park" opens Friday and runs through Sunday, Oct. 30, and Thursday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Nov. 6. Evening performances are 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees.

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Break a leg on opening night, guys. It's great to see that old pros like Bob Becker and Jack McDougall will be on stage once again. Kudos to Lisa's vision. It sounds like a great cast and will be a great show!

-- Posted by theatrelover on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 5:26 AM

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