The Carroll Players will open the fall dinner theater production, "Social Security," tonight at Frock's Sunnybrook Farm.
The play, set in New York City, focuses on David and Barbara Kahn, an upscale couple forced by Barbara's sister Trudy and her husband, Martin, to take in Sophie, the family matriarch.
Written by Andrew Bergman, who has worked on many movies, including "Blazing Saddles," "Oh God, You Devil" and "Fletch," the play offers a humorous look at the dynamics of a modern family.
"It's the epitome of a good script when it touches you as well as makes you laugh," said Kathy Schnorr, who plays an uptight Trudy.
The production has three drama teachers in its cast: Ms. Schnorr, of Liberty High School; Roberta Rooney, who plays Barbara Kahn, of North Carroll High; and M.L. Grout, who plays the eccentric mother Sophie, of Westminster High.
The three women realistically portray a mother and two daughters whose personalities conflict so much that they can't help but be at odds.
"Considering the group is all-volunteer, I think it speaks well of them," said Jack Gore, who plays Barbara's husband, art dealer David Kahn.
Mr. Gore has been a member of the Carroll Players since 1989.
"I get a lot of the juicy lines and snappy retorts," he said. "Which I think is like me, I'm a smart-aleck by nature."
In one scene, Mr. Gore, as David, answers sister-in-law Trudy's concerns about the expense of the cheese hors d'oeuvres.
"We buy it on time," he says. "Just a small amount down and a few monthly payments, and at the end of the year the cheese is ours."
He also gets to lust after Trudy and Martin's college-age daughter, who has decided that she lives for sex.
"Yes, I speak highly of her," Mr. Gore said with a chuckle.
Roger Buchanan, who plays the frazzled Martin, also has starred in the Neil Simon play "Rumors." In addition to acting, he works with disturbed youth at Sheppard Pratt. Acting in "Social Security" is fun for him.
"My daughter has become a trollop," he said. "She's living with two men and having sex . . . with both. It's heart attack time."
The play is funny, rather than explicit, and the company believes that everyone will find something enjoyable in it.
"It's fast-paced," said Ms. Rooney. "There are no two characters alike."
There also is a love story. The mature Sophie meets and falls in love with a visiting elderly artist, Maurice Koenig, played by Ivan Sherman.
"He's 98 years old and he is full of life," said Mr. Sherman. "The play is extremely funny. It tells human truths."
Director Denae Chandler said she was looking for specifics when she cast the show.
"I was looking for chemistry between people," she said. "I was looking for ethnicity" because the characters in the play are Jewish.
"People come to find their own social security," said Mrs. Grout "Every character in the play undergoes a change.
"It's kind of a neat metamorphosis."
Social Security will play at Frock's Sunnybrook Farm in Westminster Oct. 15 tonight, tomorrow night, Oct. 22-23, and Oct. 28-30, plus a Sunday matinee Oct. 24. Cash bar begins at 5:45 p.m., dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. The matinee begins with a cash bar at 1 p.m., dinner at 2 p.m. and the show at 3:15 p.m. The buffet meal includes fried shrimp, roast beef and turkey. Tickets are $17 for Oct. 24 and Oct. 28. All other tickets are $18. Information: 876-2220.