Chris Ensweiler couldn’t be more prepared for his role of the uptight neat freak in Village Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Odd Couple,” which runs Jan. 18 to March 25.
“There are more parallels than differences,” said Ensweiler of the character he plays, Felix in “The Odd Couple.”
The actor, who has a penchant for cleanliness and organization, once had a coworker who took great delight in turning his stapler on its side and propping his feet on his desk to see how long Ensweiler could stand it.
His record – about 20 seconds.
But Ensweiler gets to put this quirk to good use in Neil Simon’s most recognizable and timeless ’60s comedy, “The Odd Couple.”
This play, which also been made into a movie, tells the story of Oscar Madison, a divorced yet carefree slob, whose greatest concern in life is making his alimony payments on time – give or take a few months. His life is about to turn upside-down with the arrival of a longtime-friend and new roommate, Felix Ungar, whose wife has just left him. Coming together as a last resort, these two enter a hilarious battle of wills that leads to sheer mayhem.
“It’s like, that thing you do sometimes that irritates me, well now it’s 24/7,” said Ensweiler, whose costar, Charles Leggett will return to Village Theatre after 22 years to play Oscar.
People get into the show because almost everyone has a roommate horror story, often from college, Ensweiler said.
For example, the three other guys Ensweiler lived with as a freshman in college considered running a dirty plate in cold water as “doing dishes.” And the one bathroom they shared? No one but Ensweiler was willing to clean it.
In addition to being a general roommate story, “The Odd Couple” shows its characters’ humanity and the bitterness and sadness of divorce – a taboo topic for men in the ’60s when the play takes place. However, despite these darker topics, Simon managed to write something overall humorous.
“Fifty years later, people are still laughing at the jokes,” Ensweiler said.
For tickets and more information about “The Odd Couple,” go to http://www.villagetheatre.org/, call 425-392-2202. Village Theatre is located at 303 Front St. N, Issaquah.
Gabrielle Nomura can be reached at 425-453-4270.