The Cayman National Cultural Foundation’s latest play, “Fat Chance,” is sure to generate big laughs when its actors take to the stage starting next week.
A situational comedy by three-time-annual CNCF play writing competition winner Donna Tull-Cox, it features six cast members from the foundation’s recent production of “Rundown,” and it is directed by Henry Muttoo, CNCF’s artistic director, who also designed the sets.
The cast includes Matt Brown, who is quickly becoming a leading stage actor in the Cayman Islands, as well as Priscilla Pouchie, Evana Martinez, Patrick Lopez, Maia Muttoo and Kevin Creary.
The convoluted plot revolves around hen-pecked Dexter, played by Brown, who is married to Coreen, played by Martinez, who detests his snoring. They live with Coreen’s overly involved mother, Ma, played by Pouchie, and the entire play is set in their living room.
Coreen’s best friend is vivacious Wiggie, played by Muttoo, who is always at the house visiting Coreen. Dexter does not care for Wiggie, and Ma wants her to settle down with a good, decent man. Dexter’s best friend, Buddy, played by Lopez, is in love with Wiggie, but she simply ignores his pleas. However, Buddy refuses to take no for an answer.
Meanwhile, Ma has found love of her own, despite her ulterior motives. She sets up a party to introduce Wiggie to Frederick, played by Creary, the new man she has chosen for her. However, Wiggie still doesn’t want to be tied down, so she and Coreen plan to surprise both Fredrick and Ma.
As the fast-paced comedy unfolds, the audience finds out whether each finally character gets what he or she wants. Muttoo describes “Fat Chance” as situational with an element of screwball thrown into the mix, and all the situations in the play are ones that would occur in everyday life.
If there is one universal theme presented in Fat Chance, Muttoo said it is to “be careful what you wish for, as you may get it.”
“Quite a lot of the humor comes from Donna’s cleverly written characters and the manner in which the actors set up and deliver their lines,” he said.
Donna Tull-Cox is a Barbadian teacher, counselor, playwright, storyteller and drummer who writes plays for both adults and young people. She worked in theater for a number of years before moving to Cayman, where she was employed for almost seven years in the school system. She wrote several plays during that time, before returning to Barbados to take up a new post.
She has won many prizes for her writing, including the CNCF National Playwriting (Senior) Competition on three occasions. “Fat Chance” won both major prizes in the 1996 CNCF National Playwriting Competition for Best Overall and Best Comedy in the full-length play category. It was first produced at the Harquail Theatre that same year but has not been staged since.
The actors, who have been rehearsing three evenings a week for the past five weeks, were hand-picked from the 2014 “Rundown” cast because of their reliability, and also because Muttoo wanted to afford them the opportunity to take their work to a higher level and prepare for next year’s “Rundown.”
“Audiences who have grown accustomed to the exciting performances of Matt Brown and Priscilla Pouchie in ‘Rundown’ will be thrilled by their work … and the work of the other, lesser known actors, in ‘Fat Chance,’” said Muttoo.
“In most cases, we audition for cast members in order to unearth new talent, which is necessary for continuity,” he said. “However, in this case, it was the other way around. The cast determined the choice of play. We have a core group of actors which is relatively disciplined and our hope is that they will continue to learn their craft in order to form the nucleus of a national theater company.”
“Fat Chance” runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 2 at the Harquail Theatre. Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, and 6 p.m. on Sunday only. Tickets are $25 (adults) and $15 (seniors and students), and can be purchased at Funky Tangs, Foster’s Airport and CNCF Offices between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more details, call 949-5477.