March 11 — CARTHAGE, Mo. — It’s not that Neal Ruggeberg prefers farces over other types of theatrical productions; he simply chooses a piece that tickles his funny bone.

In the case of “Don’t Dress for Success,” the scripted shenanigans gave him deep laughs.

“I love a good farce and this storyline offers believable but awkward circumstances, conflict, fast-paced action, mistaken identities, physical humor and so much more,” said Ruggeberg, who directs the Stone’s latest production. Throw Dinner Theatre.

The show begins Friday, March 18 and continues through Sunday, March 20, and then again the weekend of March 25.

“As the story unfolds, there are so many lies, deceptions and outrageous alibis that you can’t help but laugh out loud and wonder how this is all going to end,” said he declared.

Of course, there’s nothing wacky in the real world right now, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Eastern Europe, and inflation and rising oil prices. essence here on the home front. That’s why the need to laugh right now is so instrumental, Ruggeberg said.

“PT Barnum said, ‘The noblest art is that of making people happy’ and I think a well-acted farce does just that – makes us happy,” the director said. “A lot of people find laughter to be very therapeutic. But, really, watching a good story well told by live actors is a great distraction from all the tragedy that surrounds our daily lives.”

He continued, “The performing arts are a vital part of our social DNA, and we feel privileged to be part of this fabric that holds us all together during difficult times.”

The plot of the play revolves around the married couple Bernard and Jacqueline. Bernard has a secret affair with Suzanne, or Suzy, while Jacqueline has her own affair with Robert, Bernard’s best friend. Thrown into a mix is ​​a cordon bleu cook named Suzette, also nicknamed Suzy, who is hired to prepare a gourmet meal at the married couple’s home. That, of course, leads to unexpected circumstances, Ruggeberg said — which tends to happen, in spades, with well-written pranks.

“The two lovers, Suzanne and Robert, arrive for dinner that evening. … Suzy the cook is mistaken for Suzy the mistress, causing Suzy the mistress to cook dinner,” he said. “You can’t imagine the chaos, deception, lies and cover-ups that ensue as the evening spins out of control.”

There are several times throughout production, he continued, “where it seems like the truth just has to come out, only for another deception to be told. I can’t wait to see the audience’s reaction as the alibis begin to pile up.”

The cast includes Drew Girouard (Bernard), Genna Reid (Jacqueline), Brad Stefanoni (Robert), Clarissa Whitehouse (Suzette), Kendra Goepfert (Suzanne) and Tom Jones (George).

Marc Camoletti wrote “Don’t Dress For Dinner” and Ruggeberg knows the man’s handwriting well. Camoletti wrote the popular “Boeing Boeing” prank, which Ruggeberg did for Stone’s Throw last year.

There is no hidden message with this particular piece, he said – its intention is to entertain and make people laugh.

“When the curtain comes down, I hope everyone in attendance leaves with a smile on their face and can’t stop thinking and talking about the show all the way home,” Ruggeberg said.

Details: Tickets are on sale now. To reserve a spot, call 417-358-9665.

Kevin McClintock is editor for The Joplin Globe.

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