Department of Theatre and Dance to Present Neil Simon’s ‘Rumors’ at River Campus


Photo of flyer for 'Rumors' play.

Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present Neil Simon’s “Rumors” March 24-28 at the River Campus.


March 8, 2010 – Neil Simon’s “Rumors” will be presented by Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance at 7:30 p.m. March 24-27 and at 2 p.m. March 28 in the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre at the University’s River Campus.

Simon’s uproarious farce is about four affluent couples who have gathered at the posh New York City deputy mayor’s townhouse, where he has accidentally shot himself in the ear at the same time his wife and the servants have gone missing. An immediate cover-up follows, becoming more hilarious with the arrival of each guest.

According to NBC-TV, the play is “not only side-splitting, but front and back-splitting.” The New York Times said it “has nothing on its mind except making the audience laugh,” and hailed it as the “funniest comedy of the entire decade.”

“Comedy is difficult to write, especially a play,” said Dr. Kenneth Stilson, professor of acting and directing in the Department of Theatre and Dance and director of the show. “Comedic plays, especially farces, must move quickly or the audience is lost. Humor can get very stale if the situations do not change dramatically. I can say with all sincerity that there is never a dull moment in this play,” said Stilson, who has previously acted in and twice directed the production.

“It is hilarious,” he added. “In an age where plays and movies must either be stupid comedies with outlandish plot twists and completely unbelievable characters or have dark humor with a depressing message, it’s nice to see a well-written, straight-forward farce where the jokes never get old, no matter how many times you see it. In ‘Rumors,’ Neil Simon has written a gem of a play,” Stilson said.

While Stilson guarantees that audiences will laugh out loud the entire evening, he cautions that the show uses adult language and situations and is not intended for family audiences. Due to the adult language in the program, the performance is not included in the Theatre and Dance season ticket and must be purchased separately.

Tickets may be purchased at the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets also may be purchased at any MetroTix outlet, online at, keyword “Rumors,” or by calling toll-free: (800) 293-5949.