By Megan Bowers, Senior Staff Writer

Pain is the one part of life that is unexplainable. Each person has his or her own idea about how to move on or how to grieve.

When Neil Simon’s life started crumbling around him, he chose to find a new outlook through comedy.

The finished product, the play “Rumors,” is now bringing that optimism to Miami’s campus.

“An underlying reason why I chose the show was that I think comedy can have a cool emotional effect on people,” said senior director Casey Wood. “It kind of puts you in a special place when you’re going through something serious.”

The show revolves around a dinner party thrown for the Deputy Mayor of New York, Charley, and his wife, Myra. Everything has already started going wrong before the show even begins — Charley shot himself in the ear, and his wife and the servants are missing.

“As the couples keep arriving to the party, the ones who are already there try to cover it up and they do a really sloppy job, just like you would expect in comedy,” said Wood.

The four couples, each with distinctive personalities, are the driving force in the show.

“My focus has been the contrast between the couples,” said Wood. “Just making each couple stand out from each other, and that’s something we started with casting.”

Each of the couples bring a different style of comedy to the show, ranging from over-the-top lovey-dovey to harsh and standoff-ish.

“Play the hostess? There’s no food out, there’s no ice in the bucket. Where’s the help? Where’s the cheese dip? Where’s Myra? What am I supposed to do till you get back, play charades? I’m lucky I can still speak English.”

“You’re a lawyer yourself, can’t you figure out something to say?”

Ken and Chris are the couple that arrives to the party first, and they end up putting a lot of effort into keeping everyone in control.

“He tries to be a leader sometimes, but it doesn’t work out quite in the way he expected,” said first-year Marco Colant, who plays Ken. “I mean, he’s a lawyer, so he’s trying to make things better, but he is also very high strung and nervous.”

Ken and Chris are one of the more stable couples in the show, but they still have their ups and downs.

“Their problems are just heightened because of what’s happening in the show,” said sophomore Erin Speno, who plays Chris. “You can see they care about each other, but there is also this sarcastic line between them.”

“I’m not going to tell you because you don’t like this person anyway.”

“What’s the difference if I like them or not? Who told you?”

“Carol Newman”

“CAROL NEWMAN?? I knew it, I knew it. I hate that goddamn woman. She’s got a mouth big enough to swallow a can
of tennis balls.”

Lenny and Claire are the gossiping couple who always manage to start the fights.

“I think they feed off of each other,” said first-year Olivia Semsel, who plays Claire. “Claire loves to gossip and Lenny likes the drama of it even though he doesn’t act like he does, so they just kind of bounce off each other constantly.”

“This is remarkable, but I’m having the first headache I’ve ever had in my entire life.”

“I just remembered. Ernie’s last name is Cusack. It begins with a C.”

The actors who play Ernie and Cookie take acting to a whole new level — able to keep up their characters’ banter even off stage.

“We’re definitely the dorky couple,” said junior Landon Drumm, who plays Ernie. “We’re the couple that’s actually in love with each other.”

“Are you threatened somehow because I’m running for the Senate?”

“State Senate! State Senate! Don’t make it sound like we’re going to Washington. We’re going to Albany. Twenty-three degrees before zero in the middle of winter Albany. You’re not Time’s Man of the Year yet, you understand, honey?”

The couple closest to the edge is Glenn and Cassie. The show is full of their arguments and whiny attitudes.

“It’s really tense between the two of them. They don’t get along well at all and everyone knows they’re having issues,” said first-year Audrey Davis, who plays Cassie. “But at the end of the day, they love each other, they just don’t show it well at all.”

The show uses comedy in an over-the-top style that would never work without a strong cast of actors.

“It’s really important to give the actors that ability to make the characters their own,” said Wood. “By doing that, every time you see the same show it’s going to be different.”

Stage Left will be performing “Rumors” at 7 p.m. March 3 and 5 and at 8:30 p.m. March 4 in Wilks Theater. Admission is free.