‘Two by Two’
The Park Players present the story of Noah and his Ark
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
May 31, 2012 | 1064 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MEET THE CAST – The cast poses for a photo to commemorate their hard work in the production of Two By Two. Back row: Robert Semper (Shem), Melba Guerrero (Leah), Milly Gonzalez (Goldie), Scott A. Manginelli (Japheth), John M. Fiorenza-Conklin (Ham) and Mariette Ng (Rachel). Front row: Judy Espaillat (Esther) and Joseph D. Fiorenza Conklin (Noah)
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The Park Players, a Hudson and Bergen County theater group, and John Fiorenza Conklin, director of “Two By Two,” invite you to “come and see a show as close to perfection without paying the high price.”

The troupe, which stages several productions a year in the area, will debut the show at the Church of the Good Shepard, 1576 Palisade Ave., Fort Lee. Performances are scheduled for June 1, 2, 8 and 9th at 8 p.m. and June 3 and 10th at 5 p.m. Tickets will be $18 for regular admission, for students/seniors $16 and for groups of 10 or more will be $14. For tickets or more information call (201) 941-6030.

Conklin said that the difficulty in this production lies in having to put the set together during the show. Since Noah has to build the arc during the play, that leaves only half a stage prepared.

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“You see hard work and people who really enjoy what they are doing. I want people to come and enjoy themselves.”— John Fiorenza Conklin, director of Two By Two

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From Broadway to Fort Lee, this prestigious show has made its way into the hearts of audiences. Unlike the original 1970 play that starred Danny Kaye, Conklin has children volunteers playing the animals. The children’s ages range from 5-13.

“We wanted to incorporate the children on stage which is a cute idea and everybody seems to go along with it. They are playing cats, rabbits, lions, elephants, dolphins and giraffes. As many animals as we could find,” said Conklin.

Multiple roles

Conklin is not only the director. He will also play one of Noah’s sons, Ham. He has been transitioning between roles to get this production ready for its premiere. The show is a collaborative effort, and even some parents are volunteering.

“First I direct and then I put myself into the part,” said Conklin. “I enjoy the story and directing the show and putting something together from start to finish. I enjoy seeing the people’s faces (audience) seeing something evolve.”

He attributes much to Joe Conklin, his brother, who is playing Noah.

“He’s been doing this for over 30 years. He’s the perfect Noah with his talent, and with how he plays the part, his experience as an actor, and how he can change from being old and becoming young again during the show.”

Conklin is proud of his entire cast, “all the actors in the show are really wonderful.” There is no distinction between the young actors and the older cast members that have been acting for years. He considers them to all have “experience.”

“They are putting their whole selves into their character. They add their own personal experience to make the character their own. You have amateurs, but also seasoned actors who enjoy putting on a show,” he said.

Music and sound effects

Conklin’s intent is to draw people in through the story, which is well known. Eric Clark, an experienced pianist, is credited for the music. Some of the sound effects will range from hammering, sawing, lightning and thunder, to animal sounds. Howard Frederick has been coordinating the correct timing for the sound effects. The stage for the arc will be the altar in the church.

Tickets for Broadway plays range from $70-$200 so this Fort Lee show is a real bargain for local theatergoers. Parking is readily available since the church has a parking lot that goes all the way around the church and in the unlikely event the lot is full there is also local parking.

“Here you just have one price and can go to a local place to eat,” Conklin said. “I go to Broadway shows as much as I can. It’s very, very expensive.”

“Two By Two” on the other hand is not expensive, and the actors have been working hard for months putting this production together.

“You see hard work and people who really enjoy what they are doing. I want people to come and enjoy themselves,” said Conklin.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at vcruz@hudsonreporter.com

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