Actor likes playing clueless psychiatrist

Charles Kirkpatrick plays a psychiatrist in the Hartland Players' production of Neil Simon's "Rumors."

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The Hartland Players Mainstage production of “Rumors” by Neil Simon will be entertaining the community Feb. 23 & 24 and March 2 & 3 at the Hartland Music Hall, 3619 Avon Street, Hartland. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, March 2, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, and Sunday, March 3.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and are available at the Cromaine Library or online at Tickets are also available at the door 30-minutes before showtime if the show is not sold out.

Until opening night, we’ll introduce you to the main members of the production.

Charles Kirkpatrick, who plays Ernie Cusack in “Rumors,” and his wife, Debbie, have lived in Hartland for 30 years after moving from Texas. They have three children and four grandchildren. Kirkpatrick, who is nearing retirment, has worked in information technology for several banks and a mortgage company, and has taken on a new role as information security officer for a Troy-based financial service company.

Kirkpatrick answered some questions so we can get to know him better:

How did you get involved with this production?
The Hartland Players organization does a great job keeping everyone up to date and aware of upcoming productions. After reading the script and watching the show, online, I knew I wanted to be a part of this production.

Have you been in any other theatrical productions? If so, what roles did you play?
I’ve enjoyed performing in one-act plays, skits, and musical performances singing and playing the trumpet at the Hartland United Methodist Church.

I performed in the Hartland Players 50th Anniversary Gala as Colonel Mustard in “Clue” and Remnar Soady in “Escanaba in Da Moonlight.”  I also appeared as Felix Geisel in “The Game’s Afoot” and Bert Healy and ensemble for “Annie.”

Who is/are your inspiration?
My inspiration for performing on stage comes from Mary Jo Bell, a member of the Hartland Players Board of Directors. We both sing in the church praise band. She encouraged me to try performing on stage, supporting and helping me grow. She truly loves all aspects of community theater.

What is your favorite part of being in the production?
The bond that develops between actors during hours of rehearsals. There is a great sense of accomplishment when I step on the stage full of confidence in myself as well as the cast. Knowing we are doing something we truly love.

What can the audience members expect when they see the show?
The audience can expect to laugh and be treated to adult humor. They will see a group of people who probably do not like each other attending a 10th wedding anniversary where the host has been shot and his wife is missing, and no one knows what happened. Each couple arrives not knowing what has occurred, leading them to reveal rumors. As they eventually learn, they become part of the confusion, miscommunication and often humorous attempt to hide the truth.

What are the high points/challenges of your role?
My character is somewhat clueless about what has happened and seems confused but suspicious. He is a soft-spoken psychiatrist who tries but fails to keep everyone calm and collected. My high point is when I finally lose my temper.

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