|The Odd Couple (The Female Version) by Neil Simon|
The hit comedy about mismatched roommates – from the feminine point of view!
Setting: New York, Summer 1982.
Neil Simon's gender-switch rewrite, which premiered on Broadway in 1985 (twenty years after the original), outclasses the old script in many ways. Some improvements result from the editing that would happen with any revision; however, the most effective changes can be ascribed to his reworking the script for women.
Simon has more fully developed the characters of the mismatched pair, while retaining the key to the play's humor. The original roommates blame themselves for single-handedly breaking up their marriages and are fully aware of how they did so, but do absolutely nothing to change until the final scene. The female version provides a more balanced portrayal of two strong women with reasons for how they act. Whereas Oscar simply describes his sloppiness, Olive justifies hers: "My mind is into other things." Their former spouses were not perfect, either; "I'm married to a five foot three inch man with an oversized toupee and boots up to his knees who walks around saying 'Da'," Florence cries, "and he walks out on ME???"
Simon has also overhauled the play's secondary characters. The poker players exist mainly to give Felix and Oscar someone to annoy; when not reacting to one or the other, they have little to talk about. While the group scenes in the female version still focus on demonstrating Olive's and Florence's flaws, Simon took pains to establish the personalities of their friends as well. For them, playing the game is secondary to relaxing, talking, and spending time together on their weekly night out, and the dialogue reflects that. The game of choice - Trivial Pursuit - also contributes to fuller interaction, since the team play and mixed bag of questions gives the players more to respond to.
I like writing women very much," Simon said in an interview the same year the female version opened. "Men are more closemouthed about their real feelings, whereas women, if the situation is right, open up." (The New York Times Magazine, May 26, 1985)
Special Thanks :
Marvin Neil Simon (Playwright)
was born in the Bronx on July 4, 1927, and grew up in Washington Heights at the northern tip of Manhattan. He attended New York University briefly (1944-45) and the University of Denver (1945-46) before joining the United States Army where he began his writing career working for the Army camp newspaper.
After being discharged from the army, Simon returned to New York and took a job as a mailroom clerk for Warner Brother's East Coast office. He and his brother Danny began writing comedy revues and eventually found their way into radio, then television where they toiled alongside the likes of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks and Larry Gelbart writing for The Phil Silvers Show and Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows. Simon received several Emmy Award nominations for his television writing, then moved on to the stage where he quickly established himself as America's most successful commercial playwright by creating an unparalleled string of Broadway hits beginning with Come Blow Your Horn. During the 1966-67 season, Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, Sweet Charity and The Star Spangled Girl were all running simultaneously. During the 1970-71 season, Broadway theatregoers had their choice of Plaza Suite, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and Promises, Promises. Still, critical acclaim came slowly for Simon. In spite of the fact that he had had more smash hits than any other American playwright, critics continued to take pleasure in dismissing him as a mere "writer of gags."
In 1973, following the death of his wife, Simon reached a low point in his career with two failures The Good Doctor (1973) and God's Favorite (1976). A move to California, however, reinvigorated him and he produced a much more successful play later that year in California Suite. After marrying actress Marsha Mason, Simon went on to write Chapter Two (1977) which was considered by many critics to be his finest play to that date. His fourth musical, They're Playing Our Song, proved fairly successful in 1979, but his next three plays (I Ought to Be in Pictures, Fools and a revised version of Little Me) all proved unsuccessful at the box office.
Then, in 1983, Simon began to win over many of his critics with the introduction of his autobiographical trilogy--Brighton Beach Memoirs (1983), Biloxi Blues (1985) and Broadway Bound (1986)--which chronicled his stormy childhood, his brief Army time, and the beginning of his career in television. Suddenly the critics began taking him seriously. He followed up in 1991 with Lost in Yonkers for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
During the course of his career, Simon has won three Tony Awards for Best Play (The Odd Couple, Biloxi Blues and Lost in Yonkers.) He has had more plays adapted to film than any other American playwright and, in addition, has written nearly a dozen original screenplays himself. He received Academy Award nominations for his screenplays The Odd Couple (1968), The Sunshine Boys (1975) and California Suite (1978). He has also been the recipient of the Antoinette Perry Award, the Writers Guild Award, the Evening Standard Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Shubert Award, the Outer Circle Award, and a 1978 Golden Globe Award for his screenplay, The Goodbye Girl.
Oz Angst (Manolo Costazuela)
John Dunn (Jesús Costazuela)
Ricci Hayes (Olive Madison)
Stacey Loew (Sylvie)
Elizabeth Mitchell (Renée)
Randi Storm (Mickey)
Dannille Vanderpool (Director)
Pam Wolf (Vera)
Bethany Zepponi (Florence Unger)