Hope Players

HOPEDALE – The Hope Players’ readers’ theater production of Roi Cooper Megrue’s comedy, “Seven Chances,” to be presented this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Hopedale Social Hall, presented a number of unique challenges, according to Charles Calabrese of Wintersville, who adapted and directed the play from the public domain script.

The play tells the story of Jimmie Shannon, a young stockbroker whose grandfather leaves him twelve million dollars, provided he gets married by a looming deadline. With his friends at a men’s club lining up the ladies, Jimmie goes through a series of hilarious and embarrassing proposals before he finds that true love has been staring him in the face from the beginning.

“The first challenge was adapting the script for a modern audience without losing the flavor of the original,” Calabrese said. “There are certain words and terms that have a very different meaning than they did in 1920, when the play was written, and the adapter has to find words and terms that mean the same as the original, but are understandable to a twenty-first century audience, while still fitting in with the spirit of the original dialogue,” he


“The second challenge was casting a play requiring 16 actors at this time of year,” Calabrese said. “Some actors have problems with the winter weather, and others have other commitments,” he noted. “This play could not have been presented without a lot of friends willing to do the show, and vital assistance from Andy Pelegreen in using his resources to recruit others,” he added.

Andrew Pelegreen III, executive director of the Hope Players, said he was glad to help with the casting. “I’ve been there myself, calling everyone I could think of, asking actors to do parts or give suggestions for other actors to be contacted,” he acknowledged. “Every community theater has the same problem when not enough actors are available,” he said.

Calabrese said the third challenge is presented by the age range of the actors.

“Our youngest cast member is twelve, and our oldest are in their sixties, with a lot of ages in between, so we have many different frames of reference through which they interpret the play,” he noted. “But we’re fortunate that every cast member, regardless of age, is very smart and very dedicated to making this readers’ theater production the best it can be,” he added.

Advance tickets for “Seven Chances” are available from any cast member or at the Hopedale Municipal Building from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For further information, contact executive director Andrew Pelegreen III at 740-937-2629 or President Donna Runt at 740- 937-2208. Advance tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for Tickets will be sold at the door at a price of $7 for adults and $5 for students.¬†More information about the Hope Players is available at their Web site, www.hopeplayers.org.

Pictured above, Brooklyn Binger, Ruby Foutz, Roger Van Horn, Ellie Talbott and Aqua Beckett rehearse for the Hope Players’ readers’ theater production of “Seven Chances” by Roi Cooper Megrue, and adapted for readers’ theater by Charles Calabrese.