The theater department at Troy University is hard at work this week as it closes in on the final days of rehearsal for the upcoming spring show.
“The Odd Couple” by Neil Simon, a comedy about two very different men sharing an apartment in New York City, is a play in three acts that is considered a classic. The show is being directed by Quinton Cockrell and stars a cast of eight students from the theater department.
One of the two leads is being played by sophomore theater major Noah Williams from Huntsville.
For Williams, who is only in his second year at Troy University, this will be his second big role in a mainstage production. He made his departmental debut in the 2013 season opener “The Shape of Things,” a blackbox production, where he was cast as a first-year freshman in a small cast of four, but did not see the Trojan Center Theatre stage until he was cast as Lysander in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the spring of 2014, again only as a freshman.
Williams is in the role of Oscar Madison, the owner of the apartment that the two men share. The messy and more brash of the two roommates, Oscar is a recently divorced sportswriter with money and attitude problems.
Williams, however, said that Oscar is definitely a softer guy on the inside.
“He’s a very loving character,” he said, “even though it’s not showed off in certain parts of the play.
“I like to think I put love in everything I do, as well.”
Though he does relate to Oscar in his sense of humor, Williams assures us that he’s much more similar to Felix, the other roommate who is played by Baine Ellis.
“Oscar and I are on two opposite ends of the spectrum,” Williams said. “I’m kind of a clean freak; I’m self-conscious; I’m basically everything Felix is.”
Despite these differences, Williams said he treasures his time as Oscar and feels that it has been a wonderful process.
“It’s a really talented cast. … Everybody’s working hard to do their part and make this great,” Williams said of the company, also praising his director. “Quinton Cockrell … the man’s a genius.”
This has also been a very educational journey for Williams.
“I’ve learned that even though it’s a comedic show, you need to start with a base of truth and reality. … If it’s not real people, you have nothing but a silly cartoon.”
Williams also said that playing the loud and angry character has taught him some valuable things.
“Oscar has taught me not to react so quickly on split decisions. … He let his temper get the best of him.”
After graduation, Williams hopes to audition for graduate programs and just “see what happens,” saying that the ideal situation would be to simply get to the “top of the top.”
“The Odd Couple” will be in the Trojan Center Theatre on Jan. 21-25 and 28-30.