‘Exit Laughing’ to Premier with New Director

'Exit Laughing' at the Summer Arts FestivalRiver City Players will put on a live performance of ‘Exit Laughing,’ a comedy by Paul Elliot. Chrissie Shay - a long time member of RCP - is stepping off the stage for the first time and taking on a new role as director.


“I’ve been in River City Players for two or three years now,” Chrissie said, “I started in a supporting role and got best supporting actress.” Chrissie continued acting, taking on both male and female roles. This time, however, Brenda Furgeson asked her to join as assistant director, but scheduling conflicts put Chrissie in the director’s chair.

“I wanted to be on the other side of the script, I knew what went into being an actor: rehearsing lines, learning blocking . . . but I wanted to know what it took to get the actors molded into the parts they were playing, and do the set design, and get the vision to come to life.” Chrissie adds that the experience is a lot different from acting, “As an actress I only need to worry about my part, but as director you’re concerned about everything. You’re working with the bare bones of things.”

‘Exit Laughing’ is the tale of four women who play bridge every Thursday for 30 years until one member passes away. What follows is an attempt for one last bridge night that leads to a funeral home robbery, a male entertainer, hijinks, and learning to really live. “The point of the play is that you shouldn’t wait for good things to happen to you, you should go make good things happen.”

Chrissie says patrons will be in for a hilarious treat, “I’ve read the script I-don’t-know-how-many times . . . I crack up every time. It’s kept me entertained since May. If its still keeping me laughing I have no doubt that people will be in for a good time. One of the funnest plays that I’ve seen or been in.”

Exit Laughing was the  winner of the AACTNewPlayFest, and broke several records for a nonmusical in Springfield Little Theatre. With such a renowned play there’s pressure to live up to expectations, but Chrissie is confident in her team, “The people we cast are amazing.”

The play contains mature content, and the director suggests that children under fourteen not attend. “It’s the most risque play we’ve done to my knowledge, so it’s interesting to see how far we can push the envelope.”

RCP is a nonprofit community theater, and they’re always looking for new people, “It’s not an inclusive club, we’re always taking anybody, any experience.” Chrissie says that casting for the fall show starts in August, and anyone interested should watch their Facebook page for updates.

Exit Laughing takes place at Port Cape, July 7-10. Thursday is a dessert show at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday are dinner shows at 6:30 p.m, and Sunday is a dessert show at 1:30 p.m. Dessert shows are $20, and dinner shows are $35. Call Port Cape at (573) 334-0954 for reservations.

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