This Greenville Journal article by Paul Hyde was originally published on November 30th, 2023. Photo: Eli Warren.
Playwright Cammi Stilwell describes her new play “ODD” as an “Odd Couple” for Generation Z.
The comedy centers on two unlikely friends: Margot is responsible, straight-laced and career-driven; Phoebe is slobby, flighty and unemployed. Can they live together without driving each other crazy?
The Warehouse Theatre presents the premiere of “ODD” Dec. 1-17.
Stilwell’s five-person comedy is set into motion by a mistaken communication. Phoebe schedules a boisterous girls party on the same night Margot has planed a work dinner for her uptight boss.
Stilwell had the luxury of writing her play with her two leading actors in mind: Clare Ruble (Margot) and Kenzie Wynne (Phoebe).
“It’s very much written for their voices and their friendship,” Stilwell said.
Stilwell and her actors have been close friends since their days at Furman University a decade or so ago.
“ODD” was inspired by Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple” and other fast-paced comedies of the 1960s, Stilwell said.
It marks the professional playwriting debut for Stilwell, a 2020 graduate of Furman.
“It’s so exciting and wonderful,” Stilwell said. “I’m very humbled by this because I know how incredibly lucky I am to have an opportunity to work with wonderful designers and actors and so many other brilliant minds.”
In addition to Ruble and Wynne, “ODD” features two Warehouse veterans — Andy Croston and Abby Gilbert — and a Warehouse debut by 2019 Tony nominee Caitlin Kinnunen, best known as Emma Nolan in “The Prom” on Broadway.
Staging new works
Another Furman grad, Caroline Jane Davis, serves as director. Davis, now a visiting lecturer at Furman, describes “ODD” as “an honest examination of the emotions that come along with discovering you’re now an adult.”
“ODD” began life as one scene Stilwell wrote for a 2021 Warehouse Theatre fundraiser. The theater commissioned her to expand it into a full-length play.
“I’m proud that the Warehouse is continuing to invest in the future of the American theater by producing this work,” said Mike Sablone, the Warehouse’s producing artistic director. “Cammi has a strong original voice and has written a throwback romantic comedy farce full of heart and humor. ‘ODD’ is the perfect cornerstone for our 50th anniversary season, a play that nods to the past while being set firmly in the present and looking to the future.”
The Warehouse Theatre has produced several world premieres in recent seasons, including Paul Grellong’s “Power of Sail,” Dorothy Fortenberry’s “The Lotus Paradox,” and last season’s mother-in-the-workplace comedy “Kill Corp” from Sofia Alvarez.