The Crowder College Theatre Department is gearing up for a summer play, “A Couple of Blaguards” by Frank and Malachy McCourt.

The shows are Thursday through Saturday of this week at 7:30 p.m. nightly, plus 2 p.m. Saturday matinee at the Elsie Plaster Community Center on the Crowder College Campus, Neosho. Tickets will be available at the door, no reservations required. General admission is $8, Crowder staff/Crowder students: $4 and senior citizens: $5.

According to it’s synopsis, the play “is a two-man show by literary greats, Frank and Malachy McCourt, [with] a bubbling stew of their well-known humor with a dash of poignancy to sharpen the flavor. The story follows the trials of the young McCourts in poverty stricken Limerick, Ireland, to their journey to the United States and Brooklyn, N.Y., where the young men learn to incorporate the day-to-day lessons of their hard Irish pas. A story of immigration, triumph over hardship and the love between family.”

The play is a two-act play and features Zaq Ezell as Malachy McCourt and Jesse Van Da Griff as Frank McCourt.

“Act one is set in Ireland, and then act two is set in United States, they immigrated and how they find work, and how they end up in the professions that they end up in,” said Shirley Gollhofer, with the theatre department. “Frank was a college professor and Malachy was a little bit of everything, but mainly an actor.”

The Neosho Daily News caught up with Ezell and asked him a couple of questions.

NDN: How hard is it to do a two-act play?

Ezell: I have never done just a two-person play before. In high school (at Neosho), it was a really big cast. Even here at Crowder, it has always been around at least five people, but doing a two-man play is really difficult, it is a lot more challenging than those big cast plays because there is no downtime. It is not like, ‘oh, my character is a bit part, I come on, say my two sentences, then leave and I'm done with the play.’ You are constantly on stage, you are constantly moving around, and you have to make it exciting for not only the audience but yourself everything that you do it.

NDN: Talk about your character, Malachy.

Ezell: My character has monologue after monologue, after monologue and they are like two pages long, so that was really tough memorizing, but after I got those down, the play just kind of molded itself and we are still constantly working on it. It is very challenging, but it is super rewarding.

NDN: Is acting something that you want to do after graduation?
Ezell: Yeah, it is something that I definitely had my heart set on, I definitely want to be an actor, Broadway theatre, Hollywood movies, pretty much anything that I can get my hands on, that has to do with acting, I want to be a part of itself. Not even acting aspect, I have also writing a couple of plays that I am trying to get published. After I graduate from Crowder, I am going to go to MSSU, finish my bachelor’s degree. After I finish my bachelor’s degree, just save up a little bit of money to get a small apartment up in New York.

NDN: Talk about some of your plays that you have done.

Ezell: My first play was “Alice In Wonderland,” I played a card soldier at NHS that was in my freshman year. Ever since then, I was in every play that Neosho offered, a total of eight plays. Over here at Crowder, I have been blessed to be a part of every play as well.

NDN: Do you encourage others to go into drama courses?

Ezell: Oh, all of the time.

Along with the upcoming play, a special guest will be performing Irish music at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Nancy M. Daily, Springfield, Mo., is a traditional learner of guitar, hammered dulcimer and bodhrán. She began her music career during college with the choir at Catholic Campus Ministry at SMSU, soon providing vocals and guitar accompaniment for weddings. In the late 1980s, she began performing Christmas music for local events and gradually began learning to play hammered dulcimer. Since the late 1990s, her concentration has focused on traditional Irish children’s and family songs and tunes on hammered dulcimer. Her interests are moving toward historical songs and composing her own tunes. She has performed with the bands, Cullen’s Hound and the Hooligans.

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