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April 2, 2011 - Metro Community News - Self Help

Self Help 1


Any self-help guru would agree that laughter is the best therapy around and with the performance of "Self Help," a play written by Canadian playwright Norm Foster, audience members will certainly get their daily dose of laughter.

"Self-Help," a production produced by the Lancaster Regional Players, started Friday, April 1, at the Lancaster Opera House, 21 Central Ave., and will run through Sunday, April 10.

The play is about a married couple, Hal and Cindy Savage, two second-rate theater actors who reinvent themselves as nationally known self-help gurus and, much to their surprise, become the world's most respected relationship experts. Unfortunately, while their careers have skyrocketed, their marriage goes into a nosedive, and their lives begin to unravel in an uproarious farce as they try to conceal a body in the study, deal with a detective in the hall, and a curious Sun reporter prowling around on the second floor. The couple soon find themselves scrambling to protect their reputations.

Lancaster Regional Players Director Russ Wendel said the play was chosen because of its contemporary nature and the regional players worked with this playwright previously in the performance of "Maggie's Getting Married" with much success.

"The cast is excellent," remarked Wendel. "They fully understand their character, they continue to work on character development, and they are finding the little nuances of the character to bring to the stage."

Elaine Heckler of Lancaster and Scot Kaitanowski of Colden will be performing as the self-help gurus, Cindy and Hal Savage. Since Heckler and Kaitanowski are playing a married couple, it is important that they work on establishing a connection in order to make their characters believable to the audience, which doesn't seem to be a problem for them. 

"Everybody has been telling us that it seems like we have been married for years," said Kaitanowski.

"It is really kind of weird," laughed Heckler.

"I don't think Scot would tell you this, but he is very funny without even trying. We crack each other up and we can't say our lines. I think the hardest thing is not to laugh during a performance, because there are times when you really have to bite the inside of your cheek and think of about something else," she added.

This is Heckler's and Kaitanowski's first time performing in a show together, but they previously met during the performance of "Noises Off," which was produced by Rocking Horse Production Company last April at the opera house. Heckler was the costume designer for the show and Kaitanowski was one of the performers.

"When I auditioned for this role Scot was not there, so when they told me he was playing my husband I was glad, because it was someone I already knew and it wasn't a total stranger. I am very comfortable with Scot. He is a great actor, a generous actor, and we have a lot of fun," said Heckler.

Both Heckler and Kaitanowski agreed that their roles are challenging because of the considerable amount of dialogue in the show.

"This has to be one of the biggest roles I have ever had. Pretty much every waking minute you have dialogue running through your head," commented Kaitanowski.

Also, the pair said they can relate to their characters personalities.
"Cindy is very sarcastic. That should have been my middle name," laughed Heckler.

"Hal is a second-rate theater actor, which I am," Kaitanowski said laughing.

Heckler has been involved in theater for six years and her inspiration comes from actress Betty White. This will be her first performance with the Lancaster Regional Players. 

Through the years, she has performed in a number of shows at the opera house including: "Rudolph," "Last of the Red Hot Lovers, "Betsy's Irish Wedding," and "High School Reunion." She also has taken on other roles in a show. She was the costume designer for "Peter Pan" and "Noises Off" and costumed and stage managed "High School Musical."

Kaitanowski interest in acting initially sparked because of actor Jack Lemmon, who starred in the "The Odd Couple," "China Syndrome," and "Some Like it Hot." Kaitanowski performed in theater for about 10 years and then decided to take a 14-year break. He made his comeback two years ago on the Lancaster Opera House stage in the production of "Funny Money," produced by the Lancaster Regional Players.  

Kaitanowski is also associated with the theater group Actors Anonymous, which recently just finished the run of "Tony and Tina's Wedding," a production that premiered in various venues throughout Western New York. 

Also, starring in the show:
  Kathleen Brown of Hamburg, playing the role of Ruby Delvecchio
  Matthew Gasquez of Depew, playing the role of Jeremy Cash
  Caroline Parzy of Buffalo, performing as Bernice
  Greg Reggie of Lancaster, performing as Detective Snow

"Usually when you think of farces you think of an English farce and it is a little heavier and everyone has a heavy accent, but Norm Foster is a little more of modern playwright. A Canadian farce is a little lighter, there is a lot of physical humor to it, and it is a little more up-to date," said Kaitanowski.

"It's funny and I think everyone will enjoy it," added Heckler.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 3; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 8 and April 9; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10. Tickets are $18 for adults and $16 for senior/student. The Lancaster Opera House Box Office is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour before curtain on show nights, call 683-1776 for tickets. The box office is located in the theatre on the second floor of the Lancaster Town Hall, 21 Central Ave. Tickets can also be purchased online at:

"It is a wonderful evening out, especially with the opera house you can't beat the price, and it is good theater," commented Wendel.


Lancaster Regional Players, PO Box 51, Lancaster, NY  14086