WESTPORT, Conn. — What happens when an American family vacations in eastern Europe during the Cold War era and is accused of spying? Find out this weekend as the Staples Players student acting troupe brings the Woody Allen farce “Don’t Drink the Water” to life in Westport.
This entirely student-run production opens Friday at 8 p.m. at Toquet Hall and runs through Sunday. Director Nathan Francis, a Staples High School senior, says residents won’t want to miss this “absolutely hilarious” show.
“The play itself can be characterized mainly as farcical, containing hilarious and classic Woody Allen one liners, as well as a lot of physical comedy and crazy characters,” Francis says. “There are elements of romance and family as well, which keep the play grounded and give the story a life of its own.”
“Don’t Drink the Water” tells the story of the Hollander family, who while on a vacation in an unnamed European country behind the Iron Curtain, is falsely accused of being spies. This forces the family to seek asylum at the U.S. embassy.
The show, which premiered on Broadway in 1966, was Allen’s first professionally produced play.
Staples sophomore Nick Ribolla, who plays patriarch Walter Hollander, says the show will surely keep audience members laughing in their seats.
“The writing is honestly just too hilarious,” he says. “Even at the first read-through, we were bursting out into laughter. Some jokes everyone will get and some only the adults will understand, since there's a good amount of pop culture references from the 60's and 70's.”
Sophomore Rachel Beck, who plays the role of Susan Hollander, Walter’s daughter, agrees that audiences are in for a treat.
“There are a lot of quirky and quick bits of humor,” says Beck. “There are also scenes that become really crazy that I think the audiences will really love.”
Working with Francis on this production are senior Kelly Gore as assistant director, and junior Julia Greene as producer. Junior Nicole Waibel is the stage manager.
Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available online or at the door 20 minutes before. Toquet Hall is located at 58 Post Road E.