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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

“Organized chaos”: UWL Theatre and Dance presents “Fuddy Meers”

Information about “Fuddy Meers”. Photo retrieved from UWL Theatre and Dance Facebook page.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Theatre and Dance is continuing its 2023-24 season with “Fuddy Meers” by David Lindsay-Abaire. 

“Fuddy Meers” is a brutal comedy centered around Claire, an amnesiac who wakes every morning with no memory the day before. The show takes the audience along a day in Claire’s life as she searches for answers about her life.  

“Fuddy Meers” performances are Nov. 2-4 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 5 at 2 p.m.  

According to the show’s director and Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at UWL, Greg Parmeter, “Fuddy Meers” is a seriously funny play about some seriously unfunny ideas.  

Parmeter said, “The comedy really comes from the misunderstanding of these characters and [the] outlandish behavior that these characters are able to engage in because of their own personal traumas, their own journeys, and their own baggage.”  

Parmeter explained rehearsal has been an exercise in going further to allow more dramatic moments to really sit with the audience. The tone balances between the darkness of the characters’ traumas and the “really over-the-top, ridiculous, unhinged comedy.” 

This show “challenges your preconceived notions about what theater is”, added Parmeter.  

“Fuddy Meers” can be a confusing title to some people, yet make total sense to others. To find out what it means to you, the cast and crew say you have to see the show yourself.  

“The title is the result of a character trying to express themselves but not being able to talk properly. If you want to know what the title means, you have to come see the show. There’s a specific reason why we don’t reveal what it is,” said Parmeter.  

Fourth-year Student Dawson Copley spoke about “Kenny”, Copley’s character in “Fuddy Meers”.  

“A lot of the things that [Kenny] says are out of pocket, kind of outlandish, from the get-go,” Copley said.  

As for challenging aspects about the show, Copley said, “A big struggle was not letting it drag when you get to those really heavy moments. You stop from comedy at such an intense, realistic part and you don’t want to slow down the pace of the show. That’s been a big challenge.” 

Anna Halvorsen is a fourth-year student who plays the character “Gertie.” Halvorsen spoke about the challenges of “Gertie”, an elderly woman who has had a stroke and speaks in a very choppy way.  

“This is the first time that I’ve played a character that can’t verbally speak. Leaning into the gibberish is essential for Gertie. It’s more important to not make sense, so embracing that has been a challenge,” said Halvorsen.  

Halvorsen also spoke about the variety of strange characters being in the same room on a relatively small stage.  

 “It’s wild. The plethora of strange characters in the same room together is something I think the audience will enjoy. We could end up being five feet away from someone in the audience.  Because they’re so close, the audience can get a feeling for our character,” Halvorsen said.  

First-year Student Sean Peterson identified one challenging aspect of “Fuddy Meers” as having the actors not “playing the end of the show”, which means revealing the ending of the show before they are supposed to.  

“This show is especially hard, but I’m learning to do better at [not revealing the end]. As I get everything in my back pocket, I can focus on what my character thinking about [at a specific moment]. Then it’s a lot easier to think of what’s going on.” 

When asked how to describe the play, Peterson said, “I just say it’s like an acid trip. It’s a comedy but it’s also very, very dark.” 

Thomas Hall, assistant stage manager for the show, was asked the same question and responded, “Organized chaos mostly.” 

Parmeter also discussed the role “Fuddy Meers” plays at UWL.  

He said, “We don’t ever do theater here that doesn’t have a message, that doesn’t have something that’s valuable and important to say about the world but we sometimes mistake comedy as being light, fluffy entertainment when drama is drama, whether it’s tragic or comedic. This is one of those plays that chooses to present some really serious ideas and really serious themes under the [mask] of really over-the-top, ridiculous, unhinged comedy.” 

Parmeter continued by saying that expectations of college theater productions don’t always match reality.  

“College students oftentimes come to theater because they’re forced to. They expect it to be boring, the expect it to be dull. This is the exact opposite of what that impression is. It’s not boring and it’s not long,” said Parmeter  

“Fuddy Meers” contains adult content dealing with domestic abuse, violence and mental health. 

For more information on the cast of characters, visit the UWL Theatre and Dance Facebook Page 


WHO: UWL Department of Theatre and Dance 

WHAT: “Fuddy Meers” by David Lindsay-Abaire 

WHERE: Frederick Theatre, Morris Hall, 1615 State St., La Crosse 

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 2-4 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5 

COST: $20 adults; $18 seniors citizens/non-UWL students; $8 UWL students. General admission seating. 

TICKETS: Purchase online at In-person/phone reservations begin Oct. 30 by calling 608.785.6696. Box office hours are from 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday and one hour prior to each performance. All tickets printed at the box office or held at will call will incur an additional fee. Patrons are encouraged to buy their tickets online and download the tickets to their phone/email. 

CAST: Erik Berg, Dawson Copley, Paige Edge, Jake Gesteland, Anna Halvorsen, Paige Huling and Sean Peterson 

PRODUCTION TEAM: Greg Parmeter (Director), Angela Stadler (Stage Manager), Megan Morey (Scenic Designer), Mandy Kolbe (Lighting & Props Designer), Christopher Kurtz (Sound Designer) and Elin Voegeli (Costume Designer). 

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About the Contributor
Ann David
Ann David, Multimedia Editor
  • Year at UWL: Junior
  • PGPs: She/Her/Hers
  • Hometown: Eau Claire, WI
  • Major: English: Medical Professions Emphasis
  • Minor: Biology; Music Performance
  • Other Campus Involvement: UWL Wind Ensemble and Orchestra Member
  • Future Plans after Graduation: Attending grad school in Minnesota
  • Favorite activity in La Crosse: Walking through the Rotary Lights at Riverside Park in the winter with friends.
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