“Fuddy Meers” has audience members rolling in their chairs

Imagine waking up every morning with no memory of your past. Once you open your eyes, you are immediately tasked with relearning every aspect of your life from scratch. This was the reality for Claire, who wakes up each morning with a blank slate, yet always eager to relearn her past.

“Fuddy Meers,” a riveting play written by David Lindsay-Abaire, follows Claire, played by Macey Brackin, and her family through a single, rather peculiar, day in their lives during which Claire pieces together her real past.

Claire is aided and hindered throughout the play by a number of interesting and mysterious characters.

Her husband Richard, played by Brocklund Larson, is the second character we are introduced to, and he reveals little about himself other than that he works in a hospital and they have a son named Kenny, who is an angry, rebellious and usually stoned teenager, played by Adam Horton.

When Claire wakes up in the beginning of the play with no recollection of her past, Richard introduces Kenny and himself to Claire and explains that she has a rare form of psychogenic amnesia that causes her to forget everyone and everything she knows each time she falls asleep. Oddly enough, he refuses to explain how she got amnesia in the first place, which only feeds Claire’s curiosity.

Richard leaves for a quick shower, leaving Claire on her own for a moment. While he’s gone, she meets a man in a ski mask and overalls with a prominent lisp and severe limp, who claims that her husband is going to kill her. The man, played by David Korkow, introduces himself as Claire’s brother Zach. He takes her away in a haste, leaving the audience just as confused as Claire.

As the day unravels, Claire and the audience are able to slowly put together more pieces of the puzzle. Key elements of her life are revealed to her by her mother Gertie, who is played by Julianne Ungs. Gertie suffered from a stroke that resulted in a speech impediment, making her very difficult to understand.

Further details are revealed about the man claiming to be Claire’s brother by his friend, an escaped convict named Millet, played by Chris Lehnertz, and his sock puppet, as well as Heidi, a cop played by Tara Aldrich.

The audience experiences Claire’s confusion and anxiety right along with her, as they struggle together to understand the truth about her past and the roles those around her have in it.

The show is structured so that the audience feels what it is like to experience the story from Claire’s perspective. This is achieved through the seating arrangement.

Rather than typical theatre seating, audience members were sat in rolling chairs. As scenes changed between three sets, the audience had to roll their seats around to view the scene’s respective set. With each scene, the audience felt a brief moment of uncertainty as they

had to figure out where they were going next and how to get there without disturbing another audience member.

DMACC Ankeny Theatre presented six performances of “Fuddy Meers” under the direction of Carl Lindberg, drama instructor on the Ankeny campus.

The performances took place in the Black Box Theatre during the first two weekends of March, and most nights brought in audiences that filled nearly every seat according to assistant director Alex Brown, who also said he knew of several audience members who came back to see the show more than once.

Speaking as one attendee who saw “Fuddy Meers” multiple times, it was the twists and turns of the plotline and the unique seating arrangement, along with the talent representing DMACC on stage that made it such a success.

“Fuddy Meers” will certainly be a tough act to follow.

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