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‘Pack of Lies’
8 p.m. March 27-28, April 3-4
2 p.m. March 29 and April 5
Village Players Playhouse
34660 Woodward, Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM – To whom do you owe a greater loyalty – your country or your friend?
The Village Players explore that question in their next production, “Pack of Lies,” opening at their Playhouse on March 27.
The suspense play by Hugh Whitemore is based on a true story that occurred in England during the Cold War. The government asked an average couple to spy on their neighbors and friends who were suspected of being Russian agents.
As director Bill Dixon describes it, “As trust erodes, this play questions the responsibility of both government and citizen to society and to each other. The couple face whether their loyalty should be to their country or to their friends.”
Playing the conflicted couple are Joyce McGookey of Royal Oak and Steve Tadevic of Hazel Park. Joyce, whose first appearance on stage was at Village Players in a lead role in “The Importance of Being Earnest” when she was 18 years old, will be counting her 20th stage role with this performance. Off stage, she is a Qualified 401(k) Administrator who uses her skills as a client relationship manager.
An experienced actor and director in many community theater venues, Hazel Park resident Tadevic appeared as the Sewerman in Players’ last production, “The Madwoman of Chaillot.” He is also a skilled set designer who is doubling as both actor and set designer for the production.
The suspected spies are played by Bryan Conroy, another Royal Oak resident, and Susie Skibicki of Livonia. Skibicki, an art teacher with the Dearborn Schools, says, “Art is my passion.” She exhibits her paintings and photography at several local art galleries.
Conroy is a workhorse around Village Players, having appeared in many productions, including musicals, comedies, and dramas. His favorite role is Ludlow Lowell, the comedic villain in the musical, “Pal Joey.”
Directing the surveillance of the suspected spies is an agent of the British secret service, played by Mark Carley of Ferndale. Carley is another actor with a long list of credits in both acting and directing. He is Lean Enterprise Manager for Federal-Mogul, which means that his job is to work on continuous improvement in manufacturing. Believe it or not, he has combined his job with theater. He recently wrote an article for DramaBiz magazine showing how to apply improvement principles to theater.
Complicating the surveillance, is the the effort to keep the couple’s teen-age daughter in the dark. The daughter is played by Erin Boyle of Troy. Boyle is relatively new to stage experience, but she is taking theater classes at The Detroit Repertory Theatre. A recent communications graduate of MSU, she works at One Source Talent in Troy. The youngest of eight children, she says, “With my degree in hand, I now have the time to explore other interests and find something that I am truly passionate about.”
Completing the cast are Carol Aaron of Royal Oak and Sofia Malynowskyj of Ferndale who play the policewomen who keep their eyes on the neighbors.
Malynowskyj will be replaced for one night only, April 2, by Beaumont Hospital intensive care nurse, Sue Halley. Director Dixon, a kidney transplant recipient in May ’04, has arranged a special performance for which tickets will be provided exclusively to the people at Beaumont who provide care for kidney transplant patients.
A Madison Hts. resident who works as a cardiovascular medical technician at Beaumont, Dixon says, “This is not a benefit. I want to provide the April 2 audience an evening of theater entertainment, which I truly believe they will enjoy. It’s my small thank you for the care and skill which they used to save my life.”