“It’s just a silly, farcical comedy that everyone can enjoy,” says CAST director Kim Dobbs. “This is the kind of show that audiences love and the actors have to really work at.”
The Nerd tells the story of aspiring young architect in Terre Haute, Ind., named Willum Cubert who often tells his friends about a fellow ex-soldier Rick Steadman, who saved his life after Cubert was seriously wounded in Vietnam.
Though having never met Steadman, Cubert has written him to say that, as long as he lives, “You will have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you.” Cubert is thrilled when Steadman shows up unexpectedly at his apartment on the night of his 34th birthday party. But that excitement quickly disappears when it becomes painfully clear that Steadman is a hopeless nerd. And the longer Steadman sticks around, the more trouble he causes, until the normally reserved Cubert starts contemplating violence.
“He’s just a bit odd,” explains Glenn Davenport, who plays Steadman in the CAST production. “He’s not so good with people and that causes a lot of problems. But the great thing about my character is that I get to have all the fun since he is such a total goofball.”
Because The Nerd is such a physical comedy, the seven actors can’t pull any punches. It’s full throttle all the way — even in rehearsals, Dobbs says.
“It’s choreography,” she says. “It takes a lot of rehearsal, a lot of stumbling through it and running through it until it becomes so ingrained that it’s like second nature.”
And that’s what makes this production so good, Dobbs says.
“It takes a lot of work to be silly properly,” she says. “All of these actors have to be willing to openly and completely make fools of themselves. They’ve got to dive in all the way.”
And therein lies the challenge, Davenport says. After so much repetition during rehearsals, all the actors are dying to see and hear the reaction from an audience.
“It’s always more difficult to rehearse than it is to perform in this kind of comedy because you don’t have that laughter to guide you,” he says. “And we’ve done it all so many times that it’s almost stopped being funny to us, but the audience is going to love it.”
And audiences that come to see The Nerd will undoubtedly get their money’s worth, Davenport says.
“Don’t come expecting to be deeply moved,” he says. “But do expect to have a great time enjoying the lighter side of theater.”
Contact Brett Buckner at email@example.com.
What: Comedy by Larry Shue, performed by CAST
When: Feb. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 at 8 p.m. Feb. 5, 11 and 12 at 2:30 p.m.
Where: McClellan Theater, 100 Gamecock Drive, McClellan
How much: Tickets are $20 adults / $10 students and Thursday night performances are “Pay-What-You-Want” admission. Group rates are available.
Contact: 256-820-2278 or www.castalabama.com