Second Street Players community theatre is currently holding rehearsals for their newest show at the Riverfront Theatre in downtown Milford. The comedy, written by Tim Kelley and adapted from the book by Richard Hooker, M*A*S*H is the second show of Second Street Players’ 2014 season and is based on the well-known and award-winning movie and television series.
Set around the staff of a Korean War field hospital, M*A*S*H* stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and joining the team are two unpredictable madcaps, Hawkeye and Duke. In the wild free-flowing comedy, they decide to wage a campaign to get a young Korean to the United States and entered into a good school. Throughout the performance the audience will see just how the hospital staff uses comedy and fun to remove themselves from the realities of war.
All the iconic characters M*A*S*H* fans will remember are featured in the performance including Cpl. Radar O’Reilly, Lt. Col. Henry Blake, “Hot Lips” Houlihan and Father Mulcahy. Additional characters that are not so familiar include the baby-talking Bonwit sisters, the worst tap-dancing act the U.S.O ever sent overseas and a sergeant selling simple GIs fishing rights in the Bay of Phum. It is all featured in this show including a little romance mixed in with dramatic moments and a genuine love of life.
Looking for a performance that featured a large cast, Second Street Players chose M*A*S*H* as their Spring feature to be directed by Second Street Player veteran Mark Dissinger. Having watched the television show as a child, Mark finds the comedy in the play unique, as it is used by the characters to mask the war around them.
“It’s a comedy with really nothing to do with the Korean War although the realities of war plays into it and there are some heavy situations,” commented Dissinger. “We want to convey the levity of the situation as well as the seriousness of it.”
Ben Lonski, a thirteen year veteran of Second Street Players, is cast as Hawkeye, one of the lead surgeons in the M*A*S*H* unit. Lonski describes Hawkeye as the complete antithesis to the military as far as discipline but a crackerjack surgeon.
“Hawkeye is here for the patients but as far as the military protocol goes, he could not care less,” commented Lonski. “I enjoy his off-the-cuff humor and have fun with the character.”
Debra Dow, a fifth year veteran with the Second Street Players, has been cast as Capt. Bridget “Knocko” McCarthy, a lead nurse in the M*A*S*H* unit. Dow describes her character as easy going and has a reputation for allowing things to roll off her back.
“McCarthy has a real appreciation for Hawkeye and Duke as surgeons,” commented Dow. “She is a fun character to play and she reminds me of myself. Not only because she is a nurse but the fact that she does not take anything from anybody.”
Iconic character Radar O’Reilly is played by Steven Haber, a fifth year veteran of Second Street Players. An enlisted soldier, Radar has the gift of extra-sensory perception, able to hear helicopters before the rest of the staff and aware of situations before anyone else knows what is going on.
“The challenge for all of these characters is that they are so iconic,” commented Haber. “We have to give a nod to those icons while coming up with something original.”
Over the next six weeks, Second Street Players will amass their cast of over thirty actors into six performances in April and May. They will be held at the Riverfront Theatre , located at 2 S Walnut Street in downtown Milford, on Fridays April 25 and May 2 at 8pm, Saturdays April 26 and May 3 at 8pm and Sundays April 27 and May 4 at 3 pm. For more information on the show or to purchase tickets, individuals are encouraged to visit http://www.secondstreetplayers.com/aboutMASH.html.