Interview with Tom McFarland and Joe Perignat

Everybody Loves Opal, at Town and Country Players opened this past weekend and got great reviews. Leslie Grigg of Stage Magazine said “Individually, each actor truly embodies their character, making it easy to believe this story. Once all characters start to interact we see the real talent of each actor playing off the other’s strengths. This cast works so well together, that all the audience has to do is get lost in their interactions, laugh at their plans as they backfire, and believe that good can conquer evil.” That’s pretty impressive praise!

I had the opportunity to talk to two of the actors last week. I’ve known them for many years and enjoyed their antics on stage with State Street Players. Tom McFarland, who plays the grouchy doctor in Everybody Loves Opal didn’t start acting till he was 46 when a friend talked him into joining State Street Players. I can attest to the fact that Tom was ALWAYS funny. He soon found out that he was much more than a “kitchen comic”. It wasn’t long before Tom’s skills were paired with those of Joe Perignat in skits like: This is your Life, The Honeymooners and The Smothers Brothers, just to name a few. Joe built the set for the Everyboyd Loves Opal and plays the part of Solomon Bozo. Solomon is a very crude tough guy but can be charming when he needs to be. Joe was bitten by the acting bug over 40 years ago when he lived in New Jersey and participated in some community theater productions. One afternoon after moving to Bucks County, SSP was holding auditions for a show being directed by Barbara Brown. Joe was up in his attic laying in additional insulation when Jerry Lorenz popped his head up in and said “let’s go, auditions today”. Joe balked, but Jerry insisted and Joe wound up earning his first SSP role in a skit called The Drive up Confessional. That was 31 years ago! I asked Joe how he got involved with Town and Country. In Joe’s words: “I had been going to LAD for several years to get my hair trimmed. Lynne Anne knew I was very involved in SSP. One afternoon, she called me and said, T&C is doing a play called Clue- The Play and they just lost an actor. This was 2 weeks before they opened. It was a small role, not a lot of lines but they needed someone with stage experience. I trundled off to the theater that evening to speak with the director to a see if I could help him out. The director wanted to know if I could die on stage. I told him I was unfortunately very experienced at that. We hit it off, the director gave me the part, and yes I died on stage.” A few years ago Joe recruited Tom McFarland. Tom says “they needed an old guy for a show and Joe suggested me. I auditioned and got the part of the Father in a comedy called Stillmore, Georgia. Since then I’ve done 6 shows at T & C”.
The play, Everybody Loves Opal, and the set are full of surprises. Guests are encouraged to bring a mid 50’s prop with them for display in the club room. It should be no bigger than a bread box. At the start of the show, the director will select one and it will be on stage for the performance. The owner will receive a free pass to another T&C show. So you may have the opportunity to see two great shows for the price of one!
Performances are all follows:
Friday/Saturday – May 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 at 8pm
Sunday Matinees – May 12, 19 at 3pm

There are still tickets available. You can order online at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/284859

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