When social worker and winter play director Phil Koehl was beginning to think about retirement, he decided that he had wanted the final play he directed to be Lend Me a Tenor. However, his plans suddenly changed last year when a senior asked if they could do the play.
“My original idea was to do Lend Me a Tenor since it was the first play I directed here, but a student who was a senior…it was his favorite play, so he begged me to do it. So instead I ended up doing it last year and reading 30 to 40 plays over the summer. It would have been nice to bookend it, but I couldn’t turn down a student’s request.”
Out of those 30 or 40 plays Koehl read, he chose the farce Out of Order for his thirteenth and final production at Prospect.
Out of Order is about married British politician Richard Willey (played by sophomore Riley Mangan) looking to have an affair with also married secretary Jane Worthington (played by senior GraceAnne Roach). However, when the two show up to the hotel room where this affair is supposed to start, plans suddenly change as they discover a corpse in the room and hilarity ensues.
The production will be playing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week at 7:30 PM, snow or shine.
Oddly enough, the fact that Out of Order would end up being Koehl’s final play didn’t influence the decision making process. Koehl simply picked the play – it was just business as usual.
“I think it’s special for me,” Koehl said. “But it’s not special for the crowd since we always try to do the best we can. Our goal is to always do a great show.”
Koehl only cited four criteria for his winter plays: it must be a comedy, the set must fit on Prospect’s stage, the bigger the cast, the better, and the show should be applicable to the audience.
“When reading a play, it’s just the words,” Koehl said. “It’s my job as director to figure out if we can translate the words into something humorous for the audience.”
However, senior Laura Winters, who has now acted in the winter play under Koehl’s direction for four years, believes that this year should be something special.
“[Koehl] is still the same director, and of course we want to make it great, but this year, we want to make something really great,” Winters said. “We wanted to go out with something awesome.”
Winters is sad to see Koehl go “because no one else [at Prospect] will be able to work with him.”
“[The winter play] has been one of my favorite activities because of the atmosphere, and Mr. Koehl was a big part of that,” Winters said. “I’ve learned pretty much just straight up how to act.”
Winters also thinks highly of Koehl’s free reign directing style.
“If you ask him, ‘should I do this?’, he just says, ‘Well, try it,'” Winters said.
And Koehl is letting the cast of Out of Order “try it” one more time.