TAP hosts unforgettable Dinner Party


Roxanne Panas

In the PAC, rehearsals continue for Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party, the drama department’s choice for the fall high school production. With a cast of only six and just one set, it may first appear that this play will be an easy A, but underneath this simplicity lies many hidden challenges for actors, crew, and the director.

The Dinner Party centers around six strangers who are invited to a French restaurant for a mysterious get-together. The people arrive to the reserved room one-by-one and as more of them start to show up, they realize that they are not strangers, but rather three divorced couples. The chaos that ensues is both hilarious and heart-wrenching as the six reflect upon their failed marriages.

Despite the show’s apparent simplicity, The Dinner Party poses significant challenges for the actors and crew, like any other production might. According to Zach Karolek, who plays Claude, and Audrey Moczulewski, who plays Yvonne, one of the greatest challenges for the cast is remembering lines due to the heavy, history-ridden monologues and long strings of banter that frequent the script.

“I guess my biggest concern would be forgetting lines. There are quite a bit of monologues, and…the monologues have a lot to due with [the character’s] past, and if you haven’t memorized [the character’s] past, you have a hard time, kind of, going along with them,” shared Moczulewski. This may be a more difficult problem for some cast members than others, it seems, as each character has a unique presence on stage and therefore each actor has a different amount of lines to memorize.

“I really don’t have monologues…[but] my character does a lot of banting…I do a lot of bantering back and forth and sometimes it’s hard for me to remember the order in which I say things because some of the lines are just so similar,” stated Karolek.

The cast also shared that along with the challenges they’re facing comes a great deal of excitement.

“I think that the final product will be very good [when it’s] put together, because [of] the cast chemistry,” said Jimmy Karolek, who plays Albert in the show. The Dinner Party’s Albert will be his first NBW TAP acting role.

The small cast of six has been sharing both the anxiety and the excitement of putting on this show since mid-September, when auditions began. Since then, the cast has been rehearsing anywhere from 2-5 days a week, perfecting their performances, building close relationships, and solving whatever issues may pop up. TAP Director Judy Smith shares that when picking the show, she wanted to make it a challenge.

“When I pick my shows,” Smith explained, “I think, well, is this going to challenge my students? In addition, will this also challenge the crew?” Smith said that she always pushes her students to perform at their very best and strives to choose plays that will “challenge every aspect of student involvement.”

According to Smith, one of the cast’s biggest challenges will be drawing from their own experiences to create believable characters.

“We’re really having to draw on things that they themselves don’t understand,” Smith shared. Since all characters are divorced adults, Smith explained, it may be difficult for high school students to perform in character because they do not have the life experience to draw from.

Even with these challenges, Smith has high hopes for the show’s success at NBW, which she attributes to a gut-busting script, talented cast, and skilled crew.

“One of the things that I don’t often get to say is the appreciation that I have for what we do here–the people who are involved,” Smith said. “I’m always so proud of their accomplishments.”

The Dinner Party is showing in the PAC Friday November 11 and Saturday November 12. For more information about the show or if you’d like to get involved with West TAP, visit

“If anyone wants to get involved with West Theater Arts Program, it isn’t just about the performance,” said Smith. “There are opportunities for everybody to get involved, from construction all the way to lighting, sound, and we’re always looking for people to invest that time…Sometimes it’s the niche that a student has been looking for.”