Batavia’s Albright Theatre performs ‘Curious Savage’

What happens when sweet old ladies take action into their own hands?

You’ll find out when the Albright Theater presents the play, “The Curious Savage” by John Patrick May 2-17. Show times are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays at the Albright Theater in Batavia. The PG-rated play is co-directed by Jana Sanders and Heidi Swarthout. Ethel Savage is played by Dorothy Attermeyer.

“It’s just a sweet little comedy from the 1950s, so it has that old-school feel, which I think we do really well at the Albright,” Sanders said. “The stepchildren of a widow have committed her mother to a sanitarium because she’s not acting (normal.) She’s taken $10 million from them. It was money her (late) husband gave her in a trust. The children — their last name is Savage if that’s any indication of their behavior throughout the play — have led quite the life and they all think they are entitled to the money.”

The step-kids are one-dimensional characters that are greedy and narcissistic and really just as awful as they sound, Sanders said.

Sweet Mrs. Savage wants to use her wealth to establish a fund to help others realize their dreams.

“They think she’s crazy. They think she needs to be committed and that way they will be able to get the money back,” she said.

While at the sanatorium, called The Cloisters, Mrs. Savage befriends the residents.

“The residents of The Cloisters kind of embody all of the human foibles that each of us have,” Sanders said. “They worry are they good enough, are they pretty enough, are they smart enough, are they loved? As the audience, we hopefully identify more with the residents of The Cloisters than we do with the Savage children, because they’re just filled with greed. The residents are supposed to be the crazy ones, but they’re not.”

Mrs. Savage tells the children she invested the $10 million in bonds, and that she’s hidden them in various odd locations.

“Essentially, she sends them on a wild goose chase,” Sanders said.

It’s an old-school, PG-rated comedy with a lot of quips and one-liners, she said.

“We even have a character who stopped speaking for 20 years because her husband told her to shut up and she did. So she only tells people what she hates,” she said. “She’s speaking it like it is, which everyone wishes they could do from time to time.”

Sanders is making her directorial debut, and has 11 in her cast.

“It’s been a really awesome experience to get all different types on stage and getting to direct them,” she said. “It really has made me appreciate what it’s like to be a director. I think next time I will be that much better of an actor, knowing what a director goes through.”

People will be able to laugh at themselves by laughing at the characters, she said.

“There is a message to the story that money doesn’t necessarily solve everyone’s problems,” she said. “Love and friendship can go a long way. It doesn’t matter who your friends are. As long as you care about each other, you’ll win in the end.”

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