‘Ruby Red Lips’ sticks comedy into crime/noir

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Reading “Ruby Red Lips” are, from left, John Perovich, Louise Seitman, Grey Le Cuyer, Denise Borisch, Joel Ollander and Ernie Schell. Reading “Ruby Red Lips” are, from left, John Perovich, Louise Seitman, Grey Le Cuyer, Denise Borisch, Joel Ollander and Ernie Schell.

ATLANTIC CITY – Players and Playwrights of Atlantic City read eight original one-act plays by local playwrights Saturday, Dec. 15 at Dante Hall – leading off with one from Galloway author and playwright Joel Ollander.

"Players and Playwrights is a group of 35 South Jersey residents - amateurs who love to write plays and act them out,” according to Director-Producer John Perovich, adjunct instructor for the School of Arts and Humanities of Richard Stockton College.

the group meets monthly at the Ventnor Public Library to hear and act out new material. 

“Ruby Red Lips” was one of three plays written by Ollander – all as part of a creative writing course he took last year at Atlantic Cape Community College.

Ollander, 76, has lived at Four Seasons in the Smithville section of the township for six years, after living for some 30 years in the New Brunswick area.

He and his wife of 54 years, Phyllis, moved here after he retired as a professional association director.

“The course made me write a lot,” Ollander said Monday, Dec. 17. “The professor helped me shape my material – to write better and make my stuff better.”

The Ollanders have three grown children, three grandchildren and “lots of nice people who were good to me along the road of life. I’m kind of a happy guy.”

He signed up for the writing course after attending a workshop at Richard Stockton College, Ollander said. 

“I must’ve written 75 short stories over the years,” he said. “Many have been published in one small magazine or another – but nothing as elaborate as what I’m doing now.”

“Ruby Red Lips” is an unusual murder mystery - a comedy written in the style of Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, he said. “They always wrote about hard boiled-characters who didn’t get involved with women and were smarter than the police,”

In one semester he wrote three plays, three poems and six short stories.

Saturday’s readers of “Ruby Red Lips” were Grey Le Cuyer, Denise Borisch, Ernie Schell, Louise Seitman, Perovich and Ollander.

Le Cuyer’s character, Tim Clubb, described the typical reaction to the spelling of his name.

“Two B’s or not two B’s, that is their question,” he said to audience laughter.

Le Cuyer also describes his girlfriend by saying, “She’s so dumb she thinks manual labor is a Mexican, and that Yom Kippur is Japanese general … and I don’t dare tell you what she makes of ‘Moby Dick.’”

The play ends with Borisch saying her name is Jane Cobb. That’s Cobb with two B’s. I’m telling you about the B business because sometimes people ask me, ‘Two B’s or…”

“Ruby Red Lips” was selected the best original play of the academic year at Atlantic Cape.
Ollander’s creative writing professor, Leila Crawford, said his dramas showed “an exceptional knack for writing sound, literate and surprising drama … often witty and playful, as well as incredibly refined and cohesive.”

Ollander said he got a lot of positive feedback.

The play received the Drama Award for 2011-12 at Atlantic Cape, and was cited for excellence by Gov. Chris Christie.

“Several professors who saw the play said it had merit,” Ollander said. “That’s how I came to meet John Perovich from Stockton.”

And how he got involved with Perovich’s group, Players and Playwrights.

In addition to “Ruby Red Lips,” the players read “A Genie’s Fate” by Ernie Schell, “HandyMan” by Linda Jo Severt, “And Every Other Bird Their Song” by Perovich, “Tootie Looks at Real Estate” by Rosemary Molloy, “Cleaning Out the Closet” by James A. Landau, “The Game Show” by Sondra Mandel and “Humiliation” by Joseph Linsk. 

Director-Producer John Perovich starts off an afternoon featuring eight original one-act plays. Director-Producer John Perovich starts off an afternoon featuring eight original one-act plays.

Joel Ollander prepares to read the role of bartender in his play, “Ruby Red Lips.” Joel Ollander prepares to read the role of bartender in his play, “Ruby Red Lips.”

Denise Borisch displays indignation at a proposal from Grey Le Cuyer. Denise Borisch displays indignation at a proposal from Grey Le Cuyer.

Louise Seitman plays it straight as Grey Le Cuyer makes a pass at her. Louise Seitman plays it straight as Grey Le Cuyer makes a pass at her.


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