‘Red Herring’ takes center stage

Published 10:48 am Thursday, May 1, 2014

Nora Ryan Taylor and Casey St. Aubin both play a number of different roles in SBCT’s latest play, “Red Herring,” including, in this scene, Maggie and Frank. (Submitted photo)

Nora Ryan Taylor and Casey St. Aubin both play a number of different roles in SBCT’s latest play, “Red Herring,” including, in this scene, Maggie and Frank. (Submitted photo)

SOUTH BEND—In a debate or in a story’s plot, a “red herring” is a distraction away from the main subject, but at the South Bend Civic Theatre, “Red Herring” will continue as the main attraction for the next two weeks.

“It’s hysterically funny! It’s a love story, it’s a spy story, and it’s a murder mystery—all wrapped up into one play set during the McCarthy era,” explained Craig McNab, director of the play. “It’s a quirky play—not like anything I’ve run into in the past.”

Written by Michael Hollinger, “Red Herring” is a comedy that plays with film noir conventions as it presents three romances through 24 scenes involving 18 different characters. Yet, despite all of the action and the number of roles, the cast is surprisingly small.

“There are six actors who play 18 different roles, one of whom is dead,” McNab said. “It really is meant to be six actors playing 18 roles. That means the actors really have to keep jumping. There’s not a lot of time for sitting around in the green room!”

With all of the action riding on just six actors, McNab has had to ask a lot from his small cast.

“I have an unusually good cast,” McNab said. “I’m delighted with them. We’ve got the play worked out really well.”

One of those actors, Casey St. Aubin, has enjoyed the challenge of playing three different roles.

“I play Frank Keller, the FBI agent who is on a case and who is also caught up in a romance with his girlfriend; a priest; and a major,” St. Aubin said. “Playing so many roles in one play presents a great opportunity to showcase your talents on stage.”

St. Aubin has also enjoyed working with the other five actors in the play, including Tori Abram-Copenhaver, Daniel Grey, Lucinda Moriarty, Mark Moriarty and Nora Ryan Taylor.

“It’s been fantastic,” St. Aubin said. “This is my second performance with the civic theatre, and they really bring together a community of eager actors who are passionate about their craft.”

St. Aubin has particularly appreciated the opportunity to work with Taylor for a second time.

“I worked with Nora Taylor in ‘Leading Ladies,’ and we developed a great friendship,” St. Aubin said. “The civic theatre is really a unique opportunity for meeting other great actors who bring a great presence to the stage.”

Both the cast and the director have enjoyed taking on the challenge of bringing the playwright’s words to life on the stage.

“It’s very cleverly done—very well-written. I give the playwright kudos for it,” McNab said. “It’s a comedy, not a farce, so it relies more on language for its humor.”

If the enthusiasm of the director and the cast are any measure of the success of the play, then “Red Herring” is sure to please audiences.

“It’s just a lot of fun. It’s quirky and unusual, and it’s a lot of fun, and I think people will enjoy it,” McNab said.

Furthermore, because the play is being staged in the “black-box” Warner Studio Theatre, audiences are sure to be drawn into the fast-paced action.

“It’s a very intimate space, so you’ll be very close to the action,” McNab said.

However, that theater is on the smaller side, and tickets for the remaining performances are selling quickly. They are $15 for Wednesday and Thursday performances and $18 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances. More information and tickets can be obtained online at www.sbct.org, by phone at (574) 234-1112, or in person at 403 N. Main St., South Bend.

The play will run through May 11 and showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.