Jen Otterman determined “Social Security” was the right fit for Westfield Playhouse.
The longtime Noblesville resident said “Social Security” was one of the those she submitted as possibilities for her to direct for Main Street Productions.
“I chose it because I thought it would play well on their stage and because it is a lighthearted, funny play that deals well with some of our current cultural issues,” Otterman said.
Main Street Productions will present “Social Security” for eight performances June 14 to 30 at Westfield Playhouse.
“I had previously acted the role of Trudy in it years ago at The Red Barn Summer Theatre,” Otterman said. ‘I also used cuttings from it with my speech team at Hamilton Southeastern High School when I taught there.”
The story focuses on art gallery owner Barbara Kahn and her relationship with her mother, Sophie Greengrass. Trudy Heyman, Kahn’s sister, drops her mother off so she and her husband, Martin, can go check on her sexually precocious daughter at college.
Fishers resident Ka’Lena Cuevas plays Barbara. This is her third time performing in a Westfield Playhouse show.
“I have a troublesome relationship with my sister and mom, who come unexpectedly,” Cuevas said. “My mom literally gets dumped on my doorstep. It’s a very fun role to play. There is a lot of physical comedy. There’s a lot of glib humor, sarcasm and sophisticated jokes. There are some poignant moments, too.”
Cuevas said it’s by far her most challenging role.
Erik Shaver, a southside Indianapolis resident, plays her husband, David. Shaver hasn’t performed since he was a student at Wabash about a decade ago. His friend, Cuevas, suggested he try it.
“This character is very glib, he’s very sarcastic,” Shaver said. “You should give it a read. When I read it, I thought it was great.”
Lisa Warner, from Westfield, is Trudy, who she describes as “a pain in the butt.” This is her second show at Westfield Playhouse.
“I’ve been acting a little over three years,” Warner said. “I’ve enjoyed it very much and made a lot of new friends. This is a fun script. It’s fast-paced, lots of one-liners, lots of laughs, lots of sex jokes. Jen is one of my favorite directors, so working for her is a real fun thing for me.”
Thom Johnson, another Westfield resident, plays Martin. He has been in three of the last four shows at Westfield Playhouse.
“There is a challenge playing a character from New York and Jewish as far as accent,” Johnson said. “I’ve played a Jewish role before as Morrie in ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ for 18 performances at six different venues. The other challenge is timing. The timing in comedies is actually more difficult than a drama. I like the challenge.”
Westfield resident Tom Smith performs as Maurice Koenig, a successful artist who is featured at the Kahns’ gallery.
“I’m 90 years old, so I don’t have to worry about blocking or move around much,” Smith said. “I like the role because I love comedy, and this is a very quick, clever comedy. It’s not too big for me. I don’t have so many lines to memorize.”
Smith last appeared in Westfield Playhouse in “Picnic” in the summer of 2018, which Otterman also directed.
Smith performed in Catalyst Repertory’s “Master Class” with Indianapolis Opera in May and “To Kill a Mockingbird” with Civic Theatre in February. In between, he was in an Easter production for Legacy Bible Church in Noblesville.
“I try to keep busy all the time,” Smith said.
Noblesville resident Susan Hill is cast as Sophie.
For more, visit westfieldplayhouse.org.