The Pie Ladies’ cast members. Tim LeConey and Lia Paliocha (front); Marianne Goff-Dumont, from left, Gail Parent, Mary Hickey and Rosabelle Tifft. Photo by Lainey Cross

RosabelleTafft of Senior College Players rehearses. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

HANOVER — After he had pushed the furniture out of the way, Jack Kutcha’s large living room on Main Street in Hanover became a rehearsal space.  The Senior College Players meet there every Thursday afternoon, scripts in hand, to practice lines.  Kutcha subbed in as Lola for a missing performer while also occasionally darting to a pile in the far corner of the room to find a prop.

Kutcha’s dog, Shadow, slept on a nearby couch.

The eight performers were practicing for The Pie Ladies Make Bail, a comedy where Velda, played by Mary Hickey of Rumford, everyone agrees, has the best lines: “Here we are trapped like apples in a pie,”  “Like olives on a pizza,” and “Assault with a bready weapon,” are a few.

On this day, Hickey, shares the stage/living room with Rosabelle Tifft, Mariann Goff and Lainey Cross all of Bethel; Lia Paliocha and John Reilly of Newry; and Gail Parent of Hanover. Missing are actor, Tim LeConey and Ray Leghart, the facilitator.

Rosabelle Tifft recalls how Lynn Arizzi, new to Senior College in 2006, started Senior Players. “She called a meeting of interested persons. She told us what she had in mind, came up with a few plays and had us try out. It just sounded like fun, especially when she said in Senior Theater, we are allowed to carry our scripts with us. That did it. I was hooked. Over the years until she left in 2013 to retire in Florida, she taught me everything I knew… All our performances were ‘standing room only’ as our friends and neighbors and community members were there to cheer us on.”

One memorable player from earlier years, said Tifft, was Jim McLean, a retired doctor who carried his medical bag with him to check the reflexes or blood pressure of anyone sitting near him, “completely oblivious to whatever was going on in the actual play. The audience loved him. He was with us until the age of 94 and we all miss him.


I love the camaraderie of the Players. For my part, I challenge myself to become the character I am playing. It keeps my mind active. I have not had any experience on stage since the fifth and sixth grades of grammar school when I was part of a dance recital. Perhaps my interest was spiked with those long-ago memories and the fun I had doing it,” said Tafft.

Back at the rehearsal, the play reaches the climax and the performers are a little rowdier, Shadow gets off the couch to see what the noise is about. Satisfied things are ok, he heads back for more snoozing. As many of the performers get ready to leave, Kutcha says to the group, “We had some props problems, other than that we did just fine.”

The cast will perform five skits in all. Some of the others are: She With A Capital S, Sweet Bye and Bye, and Extracurricular Activity.

Reilly, Tifft and Cross stay longer to practice a skit titled, The Tooth Hurts. Before rehearsals began, Tifft was measured for her Tooth Fairy tutu because the senior member of The Senior College Performers is playing mentor to Reilly, an aspiring tooth fairy who will also be wearing a tutu.

The players will perform at McLaughlin Science Center at Gould Academy on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. The production is free and open to all.

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