One of the first things Courtney Bambrick noticed about the play “Skin Deep” is the similarities she had with the show’s lead character, a large, sharp-tongued resident of Queens, New York named Maureen Mulligan.
“I’m overweight, she’s also overweight. We’re both Irish, and Catholic too,” says Bambrick, who lives in East Falls. “When I first read the script, some of the parallels were a bit unnerving.”“Skin Deep” debuted at the Old Academy Players in East Falls on Jan. 13 and will run for seven more shows.
The Nancy Frick-directed four-person play concerns Bambrick’s character Maureen, a single woman who Bambrick says protects herself from getting hurt in relationships with an arsenal of one-liners. Her cosmetic surgery-obsessed sister (Charlotte Higgins) seeks to kindle Maureen’s love life, and sets her up on a blind date with a Brooklyn restaurant owner Joe Spinelli (Norman Burnosky). It being a dramatic production, both calamity and hilarity await Joe and Maureen throughout their courtship. “The problem with Joe is that he’s kind of blunt and says what’s on his mind,” says Northeast Philadelphia’s Norman Burnosky of his character. “He makes some tactical mistakes on their date at first.” Burnosky performs in a much different way outside of theater, as a 23-year detective serving on the Philadelphia Police force. Though he studied theater in high school, Burnosky says he pursued a career in criminal justice, hoping to one day return to acting. “Skin Deep” marks his second year performing with the Old Academy Players.Charlotte Higgins, a veterinary nurse practitioner by day, moved to East Falls in 2004, and immediately became involved with the Old Academy Players community. Higgins says her current role in “Skin Deep” as Maureen’s sister is a portrayal of a vain yet vulnerable person.“She comes off as coming across as a self centered narcissistic woman but there’s something more,” Higgins says. “She’s a nicely written well rounded character.”
“Skin Deep” will continue through January 14, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at the Old Academy in East Falls.