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They’re driven to tee up some laughs

This 18-hole game between long-time friends will reveal some surprising secrets in the ETC production of The Ladies Foursome, starring Trish Starodub, Chris Grose, Kristine Fortner and Alice Soeder. [Veronica Reiner / The Observer]

Discovering something new about your friends you’ve known for years can be thrilling or shocking, as audiences will learn in the upcoming Elmira Theatre Company production of The Ladies Foursome.

The plot follows three woman – Margot (Kristine Fortner), Tate (Trish Starodub) and Connie (Chris Grose) – who gather for a round of golf to honour their recently departed friend, Catherine. After they are joined at the tee by an old friend of Catherine’s, Dory (Alice Soeder), it rapidly changes the group dynamic. Soon, secrets, confessions and surprises all bubble to the surface during the hilarious and heart-warming round of golf.

Grose, who takes on the role of the brazen Connie, has been with ETC for 18 shows. As well as acting, she’s donned a number of hats during her tenure, from prop-master to president. She was most recently seen on stage as the ghostly CeCe in Murder Most Fouled Up.

“The play is full of life, conversation, situations, and relationships,” said Grose of the upcoming production. “I was very shocked when I got offered the role, actually. It’s always fun when you have the opportunity to do something on stage that wouldn’t necessarily be a normal or comfortable role in your own personal daily life.”

Absolutely no topic of conversation is off-limits for this foursome as they take on the challenges of the course … and one another. Penned by Norm Foster, the Ladies Foursome is reminiscent of a previous play by the popular playwright, The Foursome. The latter features a similar premise, but involves a male cast meeting for 18-holes during a 15-year reunion.

ETC previously staged a production of The Foursome back in 2006 with the same director of the upcoming production from the ladies’ tee, Sue Jennings. It was the among the first plays the organization put on after building a new facility of its own on Howard Avenue.

“So we’ve kind of come full-circle,” said producer Bev Dietrich with a laugh. “The two plays somewhat parallel one another. You can see characteristics in the ladies that are in the men.”

“My husband was actually in the first play, so it’s neat to be playing the lady’s role in the second one,” said Grose. “There are certain things that are bang-on similar. He’s taken excerpts right from the men’s to the women’s in certain parts.”

The cast had their first read-through in January and began full-swing rehearsals back in February. They have practiced three times a week to prepare, and have just wrapped up the final touches with a tech run this past Saturday.

“If you’re looking for an evening full of laughter, come on out,” said Grose, adding both genders will find the play entertaining, golf fans or otherwise.

The Elmira Theatre Company production of The Ladies Foursome runs April 26-28, then May 2-5 and May 9-11 at the ETC facility, 76 Howard Ave. in Elmira. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows begin at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Sunday performances kick off at 2:30 p.m., and the doors open at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling KW Tickets (Centre In The Square) at 519-578-1570 or by visiting The Elmira Theater website.

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