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City slickers tackle life in the country in play 'George Washington Slept Here' opens tonight


Take a male romantic, a female realist and a dilapidated farmhouse, throw in a couple of teen-agers, a spendthrift caretaker, a nasty neighbor and a rich uncle, and what do you have?

It's the Carroll Players' version of the 1940 Moss Hart and George Kaufman comedy, "George Washington Slept Here." The play opens tonight at Frock's Sunnybrook Farm on Bond Street, Westminster.

The laughs begin when Newton Fuller, played by Jim Naylor, buys an abandoned, supposedly historical farmhouse in the country as a surprise for his wife, Annabelle, played by M. L. Grout.

Surprise for Newton! Annabelle hates the country and hates the house -- with good reason. The house has no water (except when it rains -- then plenty comes through the roof), no bathrooms, the floors are caving in and a horse is in the kitchen.

"It's very much 'Green Acres,' " said Mary Ellis, who is directing. "They've never been to the country, and as city dwellers, they don't have a clue."

Newton believes everything he's told: George Washington was rumored to have slept in the house, all the trees on the property need spraying, and he can commute to the city by train.

"The play will appeal to Carroll countians, especially those who have lived on a farm," Ms. Ellis said. "Newton's naivete is amazing."

For instance, when the caretaker, Mr. Kimber, played by Bob Perry, tells Newton he needs a cesspool, Newton says, "Get the best."

Newton finally spends so much that the farm is in danger of foreclosure. Enter Uncle Stanley, played by Tom Templeton.

"Uncle Stanley comes to the rescue, but not in the way you'd expect," Ms. Ellis said.

For a little extra frivolity, throw in a spoiled nephew and popular actor and his actress wife who are spending the summer nearby.

"There are lots of character roles, a lot of oddballs," Ms. Ellis said.

The play also "has a nice mix of veteran actors and young people," the director said. "Anytime there can be that kind of collaboration, it makes it real nice -- the kids have a lot of energy and the veterans have experience."

"George Washington Slept Here" will be performed at 8 p.m. today and tomorrow and Oct. 27, 28 and Nov. 2-4. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. and a shrimp, roast beef and roast turkey buffet is served at 6 p.m. For Oct. 29, doors open at noon, dinner is at 1 p.m. and the show at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for all shows except Nov. 2, when tickets are $18.

Tickets are available at Long's Florist, Dutterer's Florist, the Treat Shop and Locust Books.

Information: 876-2220.

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