Sunday, November 06, 2016

The Deadly Psychology of Friendship

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

In a room that was filled to near capacity, the Friendly Community Center in Cresco, PA hosted the Pocono Mountains Theater Company (PMTC) presentation of “How To Make Friends, And Then Kill Them” on Friday November 4th as part of the company's Barrett Township, PA Staged Reading Series. Snacks and beverages were made available to the theater lovers and friends of the company to munch upon before the show began. The victuals were almost as nourishing as the conversations that ensued among the gathering which came to temporary conclusions when the reading was about to commence.

It was at this time did The Artistic Director of PMTC, Brian Long, welcomed the crowd and shared some appreciative sentiments with the audience for their presence. He then proceeded to introduce the play, the actors, and the director before taking his leave so the play could begin. An anticipatory hush meandered among the assembly whose silent contemplation upon what wonders were to come was illuminated by the first lines of the play.

The play titled “How To Make Friends, And Then Kill Them” was written by Halley Feiffer and is about three women whose intertwining lives are set upon a plethoric backdrop of psychological and other maladies that added an uneasy subtext to the comedic aspects that is prevalent throughout the work. The play follows the women from childhood to young adulthood revealing an unparalleled depth to their first perceived two dimensional characteristics. The cast consists of Samantha Strelitz as Ada who is a self absorb, narcissistic manipulator, Lillith Fallon as Sam who is Ada's smarter sister who redefines the term “Passive Aggressive,” and Natalie Riegel as Dorrie who is the sisters' co dependent friend whose numerous physical and mental problems forces her to cling to their energies no matter how detrimental they are to her well being. The reading was directed by Kristy Dodson who also served the production as it reader of stage directions.

It is always a challenge for any staged reading to maintain a suspension of disbelief among the audience as the actors are performing with script in hand. However, the performance of the actresses proved to be of such a stellar quality that the in the moment aspects of the play remained consistent throughout. In fact, the actresses incorporated the scripts to further define their characters by moving then about in order to accentuate the lines they delivered while superbly revealing the darkness of not only their individual characters but of the play itself. The humor they released from the written material allowed the audience to experience the harsh depths of this darkness prevalent throughout the reading as well as the similar traits buried deep within themselves and those they love. This moved many members of the audience to reflect upon the piece and to linger upon its life touching meanings and implications for quite a long time after the final lines were delivered. You'll find more photographs of the How To Make Friends, And Then Kill Them Staged Reading in The Deadly Psychology of Friendship Gallery at

The Friendly Community Center in Cresco, PA provides a variety of programs and services to adults, caregivers, and families designed to help them to “Stay Healthy, Keep Fit, and Have Fun.” This is done by providing opportunities to participate in social, recreational, health and fitness, arts and humanities, and lifelong learning activities. The center features their Dottie Hughes Fitness Park which is located outside the building and is equipped with a LifeTrail Advanced Wellness System for adults. You can learn more about The Friendly Community Center by exploring their Website at or their Facebook Page at

The Pocono Mountains Theater Company was formed in 2015 by Sarah T. Schwab and Brian Long through a conversation held at the Friendly Community Center. Their words inspired them to create a theater company that would serve the Monroe County, PA area with the hope to produce and develop diverse new works by artists both local and national, produce two to three main stage performances a year featuring well-known actors with residencies provided for local theater producers and artists, provide the local and regional community the opportunity to become involved in the development process of new works, and to create a destination for local, regional, and tri-state residents to experience their productions. The presentation of “How To Make Friends, And Then Kill Them” was the final installment of their Barrett Township, PA Staged Reading Series for the Fall. Their next theatrical event is yet to be announced. You can learn more about The Pocono Mountains Theater Company by exploring their Facebook Page at or their Website at

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