Fairfield Footlighters to present ‘Boys Next Door’

Play gives insight into lives of people with special needs.

Fairfield Footlighters will present “The Boys Next Door” at the Fairfield Community Arts Center over the course of two consecutive weekends — Feb. 17-19 and Feb. 24-26. Friday and Saturday shows will start at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2 p.m.

“The show itself centers around four developmentally challenged, adult men, who live in a group-home setting in an apartment complex in a typical New England town. It’s a light comedy, and it’s all about their daily interactions with each other and their caregiver, Jack,” said director Kevin Noll.

Jack is getting burned out from the whole thing, because it can be a stressful job being a caregiver to those with special needs, he said.

As each scene unfolds, audiences will get to know the main characters in the play. Norman works in a doughnut shop and is unable to resist the lure of the sweet pastries; Lucien P. Smith has the mind of a five-year-old but imagines that he’s able to be more; Arnold, the ringleader of the group, is a hyperactive, compulsive chatterer; while Barry, a brilliant schizophrenic who is devastated by the unfeeling rejection of his brutal father, fantasizes that he is a pro golfer.

“We wanted to do it, because it’s a more contemporary play than some. It takes place in a modern-day setting. I think it was written in the 1980s. It’s a show I first saw probably 30 years ago at Playhouse in the Park, and, even today, some of the scenes have stuck with me. The show gives the audience a real insight into the daily lives of individuals with special needs,” Noll said.

Many of the cast members either work with individuals with special needs, or have a family member with special needs, so the play has become personal to them.

The cast stars Kevin Roach (as Arnold Wiggins), Jamie Ball (Norman Bulanski), Malcolm Casey (Lucien P. Smith), John Lawson (Barry Klemper), Nick Bellmyer (Jack), Rachel Smith (Sheila), Bob Tyson (Mr. Klemper), David Brabbs (Mr. Hedges, Mr. Corbin and Sen Clarke) and Jackie Marshall (Mrs. Fremus, Mrs. Warren and Clara).

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

How to go

What: “The Boys Next Door” by Tom Griffen

When: Shows will be held at 8 p.m. on Feb. 17, 18, 24 and 25. Matinee performances are at 2 p.m. Feb. 19 and Feb. 26.

Where: Fairfield Community Arts Center, 411 Wessel Drive, Fairfield

Admission: Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $13 for seniors and students.

More info: For tickets call (513) 867-5348 or visit www.fairfield-city.org/tickets and www.fairfieldfootlighters.org. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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