Sunday, May 19, 2013

She Loves Me--Actor, Mr. Maraczek

Adam Pingel as Georg and me as Mr. Maraczek in a scene from She Loves Me

She Loves Me, book by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by Jerry Bock, was produced in the Snow Drama Theatre at Brigham Young University-Idaho, Fall Semester, 2008.

The play takes place in Budapest, Hungary in the 1930's at Maraczek's Parfumerie.  The manager, Georg Nowack is a shy man who is currently in a relationship with a woman he has never met, only corresponded with through letters.  Maraczek is encouraging Georg to find a woman and settle down. 
Amalia Balash is a young girl who is looking for a job, and when Georg tells her they are not hiring, she attempts and succeeds in selling an unsellable item with Maraczek and Georg watching.  Maraczek hires her on the spot.  Amalia is in a relationship with a man she has never met, only corresponded with through letters.
Amalia and Georg develop a hostile working relationship.
As time passes through Act I, Maraczek becomes increasingly hostile towards Georg.  No one seems to know the origin of the hostility, but it's obvious Georg can do no right.  There is a "you can't fire me, I quit!" moment and Georg finds himself without a job on the night he is supposed to meet his pen pal.
Maraczek turns everyone out of the parfumerie and meets with the private investigator he has hired to follow his wife.  She has had an affair with one of his employees, but it wasn't Georg as Maraczek had expected.  Instead it was Mr. Kodaly.  Maraczek receives a phone call from his wife who says she will not be home until late because she is visiting a sick relative or friend.  Maraczek knows this is false and decides to take his own life.  He is interrupted by Arpad, the delivery boy and wounds himself instead.
Georg goes to the rendezvous point with his "Dear Friend" and discovers that it is Amalia.  He goes over and sits by her and they fight, as always.  She insults him greatly and he leaves.  The act ends with Amalia waiting for her "Dear Friend" and crying when he doesn't show up.

The second act begins with Maraczek in a hospital bed and Arpad bringing him news.  Georg comes to visit him and Maraczek asks for his forgiveness.  He then promotes Georg and asks him to dismiss Mr. Kodaly.
Georg, upon hearing that Amalia has not come to work because she is ill, pays her a visit.  Heartbroken because she thought her "Dear Friend" had stood her up, she has taken ill.  She believes Georg is there to spy on her and she attempts to get ready for work.  Georg assures her he is there out of kindness and gives her some vanilla ice cream.  He also tells her he saw someone at the rendezvous that must have been her pen pal, but he was old, bald and fat.
Throughout the rest of the act, Georg and Amalia become friends at work and she invites him to come with her to Christmas dinner where she will meet her "Dear Friend" for the first time.  Georg finally reveals that he is "Dear Friend".  Amalia tells him she had hoped he was.  And all is well.

Why I chose to be in this production
I am primarily a designer and a technician, but I believe that anyone who is involved in design or technical theatre ought to find themselves on stage once in awhile.  It's good to remind yourself as a technician what it is like on the other side of the lights.

My Dad had passed away about a year earlier and I wanted to be in a play to honor him.  Dad had been an actor and a director all his life, and he was very good at it.  John Bidwell was the director of She Loves Me, and my Dad had been a primary mentor to him.  John was getting ready to retire from Brigham Young University-Idaho and I thought this was probably my last chance to be directed by someone who had been taught by my Dad.  I asked John if he would consider casting me in this play.  He did and I played the part of Maraczek.  It seems that I am to the point in my life where I am playing old men.  I'm okay with that.

I enjoyed being in this play.  I also enjoyed being a veteran actor with younger actors.  I was very careful to approach my part seriously and to be prepared and focused in rehearsals.  It was also nice to give a generation of students a paradigm shift.  Most of the students at that time didn't know that I have at least some acting chops.  Many of them thought I was only a technician. 

We had a terrific ensemble and I enjoyed every moment I spent in this play.  I was thankful to have had this opportunity.

I had a vintage double breasted, blue pinstripe suit that no longer fit me.  I'm pretty sure it shrunk over the years... I loaned it to Adam Pingel for his part as Georg.  It fit him better than it ever fit me, and when the show was over, I gave it to him. 


Maraczek dancing with Georg, reminiscing about his courtship with Mrs. Maraczek.  Trying to convince Georg to find a woman and marry her.  Maraczek sings "Days Gone By."

Maraczek also dancing with Ilona in "Days Gone By."

Maraczek attempting to sell the unsellable item

Maraczek and the cranky customer

Maraczek dressing down Georg

Maraczek and the Private Investigator

Maraczek on the phone with his wife.  Knowing she is lying to him.

Maraczek contemplates suicide

Arpad intervenes

Maraczek in the hospital with the Nurse and Arpad

Arpad trying to convince Maraczek to let him be a salesman to the song, "Try Me"

The end of the song "Try Me"

Maraczek begging forgiveness from Georg

A joyful reunion with Maraczek and company.

Production Details
Directed by John Bidwell
Scene and Lighting Design by Richard Clifford
Costume Design by Susan Whitfield
Mr. Maraczek - Gary Benson
Georg Nowack - Adam Pingel
Amalia Balish - Rose Kiernan
Ilona - Andilyn Jenkins
Arpad -  Matt Zachreson
Sipos - Jordan Judd
Kodaly - Seth Nehring
Angry Customer - Cassie Burton

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