When Elise Hanson was approached to write a serial play that followed the same format as a sitcom, she was all in. Loving stories that make people laugh, she created a grumpy woman named Rhonda who runs a hotel called “The Open Syrup.” Rhonda runs into many inconveniences in her daily life as she tries to avoid serving breakfast at her establishment.
To prepare for this months-long project, Hanson watched Monty Python films, The Muppets movies and read Lemony Snicket’s tales of the Baudelaire Children. In other words, she has a wide range of humor that can be applied to all types of people.
“I mostly want to make people laugh,” she said. “I love comedy … so that’s my main goal and takeaway.”
And sparking laughter is her forte.
“I’ve had great feedback about that, that people have laughed so hard they almost peed their pants.”
But the laughter doesn’t get old. The brilliant nature of this play is that each segment can stand on its own. There is no overarching story that the audience will miss if they come into the series in the middle. It is as close to a live sitcom as you can get.
“It’s just really fun to see people coming back to see the episodes. They just want to see more of it, so they just keep coming back to it,” Hanson said. It’s basically like one of your favorite TV shows, but now you have to wait for installments instead of bingeing them all at once, like the good ole days.
Elizabeth Hanley, who plays the disgruntled manager, Rhonda, has put effort into portraying the role well without dropping the mood. “Because Rhonda is so sarcastic and ‘over it,’ she usually has a sort of deadpan delivery on her lines,” she said. “But you can’t engage an audience without big energy, so … it has been a new and interesting challenge for me.”
What Hanley wants the audience to understand is that sometimes “sarcastic people may seem unapproachable and cold, but often there is a lot going on beneath the surface.” This is especially important in this week’s installment of “The Open Syrup,” because Rhonda finds a love interest.
If you’re tired of hearing the long drone of anger and verbal attacks in this busy world, take a breather to laugh until your abs hurt at “The Open Syrup” at The Box in the Gateway!