Psychiatrists, psychics and the phrase "Psych — just kidding," play out on the stage of Christ King School for the Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa's rendition of "Psych" by Wisconsin native Lisa Rowe.
The play — directed and acted out by a group of volunteers — takes the prefix "psych" to multiple levels in a fast-paced comedy that takes a spastic role, spinning the character's lives together in a series of manic events.
"Psych" takes place in a psychiatrist's office where, early in the play, one character dies and another assumes their identity. Other characters quickly join the unhinged fray including a psychic, gangster and dead character's identical twin among others.
Many of the situations revolve around character's phobias, idiosyncrasies, webs of lies and the caricaturistic nature of the characters themselves.
Saying that most plays focus on the backstory and reasoning behind character's actions, Director Sherrick Robinson said, "This (play) is like 'Forget all of that nonsense. Take this handful of people, put them in a room for two hours and see what happens. Then they're all gone.'"
He added that there is very little reasoning behind most of the events in the play and likened it to a comedy of errors, but not entirely. There is a bit of slapstick and situational comedy in it as well.
Group of volunteers
The Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa is completely volunteer-run. Each cast member is participating either for the love of theater, to gain experience or for fun.
Stage Manager Rita Bates, before joining the playhouse, was last in a play as part of an elementary school project. "Psych" will be her second time as a manager, and she said she finally has the confidence to work in theater.
She had always wanted to be in theater since she was little and said she never thought she was good enough before joining the playhouse. Now, she said, "I'm not confident but I'm confident at the same time. I'm enjoying it."
Dillon Moran, who plays Edward, is in the cast because of an epiphany he had while working as an intern in an office.
"I was looking out the window and thought that I couldn't do that for the rest of my life," he said. He hadn't done theater since his high school days years ago, but wanted to see if it was something he could do as a career.
Other budding professionals and theater hopefuls fill the ranks of "Psych." Audwin Short, who plays Robert and Sam Smith, has previously played as an extra in "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises" with no lines but, due to his work in community theaters including the Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa, has finally scored a role in a local documentary.
"Whether it's a big production or a small production, everything adds to something else," he said.
Tosan Magdelyn Monahan plays Lydia and said she is involved for the love of theater and because she's having fun with the cast and crew. While she admitted that her character doesn't have much depth, she tries to throw a little extra substance in that may not have been written.
On why he had a passion for theater, Moran said, "There is something different between what happens between the characters on stage and the people present and the exchange of energy and reactions."
Through his time working in theater, Moran learned not only to have energy as an actor, but to be reactive as an audience member.
The play lends itself to high energy, with back-and-forth conversations delivered at lightning speed.
"When there's not that urgency and back and forth, it's like something is missing," said Monahan.
If you go
WHAT: Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa production of "Psych"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Christ King School, 2604 N. Swan Blvd.
TICKETS: $15 for adults, $13 for students and seniors
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