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Mid-Ohio Valley Players present episode of ‘Fibber McGee and Molly’

The cast of “The Census Enumerator,” an episode of “Fibber McGee and Molly” to be presented at 7 p.m. today by the Mid-Ohio Valley Players for its WMOVP Radio Theatre virtual performances series during the pandemic. From left, top: Eliz Kinser, Becca Buck, Amber Smrek, Vanessa Rake, David Scheimann, Dyrk Conrad, Jeff Walker, Jena Blair, Mack McHale, Sam Kinker and Tim Tuten. (Image Provided)

MARIETTA — The Mid Ohio Valley Players returns with its next offering of social distance theater at 7 p.m. today with a comedic installment of WMOVP Radio Theatre.

This week it’s “The Census Enumerator” from the classic radio comedy “Fibber McGee and Molly.”

To view the live performance, join the webinar link at 7 p.m. today at https://mariettacollege.zoom.us/j/93626779110, Call to hear the audio only at 301-715-8592 or 312-626-6799, Webinar ID 936 2677 9110.

If unable to join in for the live performance, it will be available on the Mid Ohio Valley Players Facebook page beginning as a premier video on Saturday, also at 7 p.m.

Director Suzanne Walker is encouraging everyone to watch.

“After a three-week hiatus we are eager to be back and to bring something fun to the valley,” Walker said. “I wanted to do a classic comedy that we had not yet tried and when I saw the Fibber McGee and Molly episode on the census I knew that was the one.”

Jena Blair plays Mrs. Mulks.

“I love ‘Fibber McGee and Molly.” It is such a wonderful classic radio comedy,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of this.”

First aired in 1950, the episode is a series of encounters with people in the neighborhood of Wistful Vista as McGee does his part in the Census. While not a typical Census taker, McGee provides a lot of laughs as he never knows what to expect when the next homeowner opens the door.

David Scheimann, who plays McGee, is appearing in his third WMOVP Radio Theatre production.

“If anything, I’m even more enthused to be part of WMOVP than before. The short rehearsal periods with lack of memorization really allow me to have fun with the characters, and then a couple of weeks later I might try out something completely different,” Scheimann said. “It’s a fun, versatile experience, and actors don’t have to wait around long for opportunities.”

The episode is timely as the U.S. is conducting the 2020 Census. The Census is mandated in the Constitution and has been conducted since the 1700s.

State and local governments are encouraging full participation because population counts are used in determining the amount of money from numerous state and federal programs, representation in legislatures and in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“It is important to remember that art most often mimics life. Yes, our world is doing through a terrible and scary epidemic, but it is important to keep moving. And remembering to take part in the census is your way of doing so,” Amber Smrek, who plays the Lady, said. “And why shouldn’t you. You’re here. Right now. You’re going through this crazy pandemic. Tell the future that story.”

As pandemic cases are again on the rise and social distancing continues to keep theaters closed, starting today the radio theater will be presented at 7 p.m. every other Friday.

“Fortunately, many of our actors are back to work, so doing a weekly performance is just too much,” Walker, who founded the series, said. “However, by having two weeks to rehearse we are excited about being able to try other kinds of scripts to supplement the classic radio shows.”

WMOVP Radio Theatre will return on Aug. 7 with an episode of “The Life of Riley” directed by Becca Buck.

Cast list:

* Wilcox (Announcer): Tim Tuten

* Fibber McGee: David Scheimann

* Molly: Vanessa Rake

* Ole Timer: Mack McHale

* Mrs. Mulks: Jena Blair

* Ole: Sam Kinker

* Woman: Becca Buck

* Maid: Eliz Kinser

* Lady: Amber Smrek

* Cliff: Dyrk Conrad

* Doc: Jeff Walker

* Director and Sound Engineer: Suzanne Walker

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