Duane Leatherman sees himself in his character in the play “Squabbles.”
“The character is kind of me, maybe a little more grumpy than I am,” said Leatherman, an associate math professor at Butler University.
Leatherman, a Westfield resident, will appear as Abe in Main Street Productions’ “Squabbles” March 18 to 28 at Westfield Playhouse, 220 N. Union St. Capacity will be limited to 50 percent for adequate social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The challenge is there (are) a lot of lines,” Leatherman said. “It’s a very large role and I’m on the stage about 90 percent of the time.”
Leatherman, 74, said he has been performing since he was in junior high school.
The role of Abe is his biggest since performing in the “The Sunshine Boys” in 2017 at Westfield Playhouse. He has performed several plays for Belfry Theatre in Noblesville and for Carmel Community Players. His favorite role has been Benjamin Franklin in “1776,” which he has done three times.
Noblesville resident Susan Hill plays Mildred, the mother of the young man.
“The father, Abe, has come to live with the couple because he’s had a heart attack,” Hill said. “Then my character’s house burns down, and I have no place to go. My son invites me to stay with them but it’s a small apartment and the in-laws hate each other. My character tried to kill him at the wedding reception. The father loves to argue. He will argue about anything.”
Hill appreciates that the play focuses on the older couple’s relationship.
“So many plays are about young people and their problems,” said Hill, who is in her fourth production at Westfield Playhouse. “I have a lot of fun yelling at Abe. It’s a fun role because it’s a very comedic role and there are a lot of fun lines. The way they react to each other is pretty funny.”
Sabrina Long, Whitestown, portrays Abe’s daughter, Alice.
“It’s very challenging because my biggest fear is pregnancy, followed by failure and death,” Long said. “It’s interesting I get to play a pregnant woman. It’s very scary. I don’t like it all. I really didn’t know that before accepting the role.”
Matt McKee plays Mildred’s son, Jerry.
Director Doug Davis said Westfield Playhouse is proud to bring back live theater. He said people on both sides of the curtain have missed it.
Davis said staff have taken all the precautions with temperatures taken on arrival, wearing masks at rehearsals and practicing social distancing.
“Of course, having a new theater with new air systems helps,” he said.
Davis said the show is close to his heart with his assistant director Jan McGill having played in the show 20 years ago. Davis and McGill are from Frankfort.
“It’s a very funny show that isn’t done often,” Davis said. “No matter how much everyone loved their families, they can sometimes get on your nerves. They know all the buttons to push. In-laws don’t always get along, and that is a reason you schedule them at different times. We chose this show to give the audience a fun-filled evening.”
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. March 18-20 and March 25-27 and at 2:30 p.m. March 21 and March 28. For more, visit westfieldplayhouse.org.