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Acting is right up their alley, but bowling? That’s a struggle

Paula Plum (left) and Nancy E. Carroll star in the Greater Boston Stage Company production of “Last Night at Bowl-Mor Lanes.”Greater Boston Stage Company

“Last Night at Bowl-Mor Lanes” is a comedy about friendship and competition written by Greater Boston Stage Company artistic director Weylin Symes. The world premiere, which runs Sept. 5-29 at the Stoneham theater, is set in a bowling alley, with two old friends trying to settle a score with one last game. “Last Night at Bowl-Mor” features two of Boston’s grand dames of the theater, Nancy E. Carroll and Paula Plum. The dynamic duo took a break from rehearsal to talk multitasking in front of an audience.

Q. How’s your bowling form?

Nancy E. Carroll:I can hit a tennis ball and a baseball, and I made it to the Olympic trials in gymnastics with a floor routine, but all my bowling balls go directly into the gutter.

Paula Plum: Well, I’m from Lynn, so candlepin bowling was something one did as a kid, but I’m not an athlete.


Q. Is it a challenge to bowl onstage while remembering your lines?

Carroll: It’s crazy. The sound cues are tied to the pins falling [which happens offstage], so not only do we have to remember the conversation we’re having, we have to remember which frame we’re on, keep track of the score, and remember whose turn it is.

Plum: We’re both used to being onstage a lot, but the logistics of this one — the timing and the traffic — make it challenging and fun.

Q. The action of the play revolves around an intense competition between these two old friends. Is that something you can relate to?

Plum: I’m pretty competitive. I don’t want anyone to tell me how to do it.

Carroll: But we’re not competitive with each other. This is only the fourth time we’ve worked together, and it’s such a pleasure to share the stage with someone you really enjoy being with.

Q. What appealed to you about the script?

Carroll: It’s fun to play women who have such a long history together. They’ve witnessed a lot.

Plum: It’s also rare to see female pairs of comics who are evenly matched. These two women, Maude and Ruth, balance physical comedy with interesting backstories. We’re having a lot of fun with that.


P resented by Greater Boston Stage Company, Stoneham, Sept. 5-29.
Tickets $42-$57, 781-279-7885, www.greaterbostonstage.org


Terry Byrne can be reached at trbyrne@aol.com.