There's a reason why the week leading up to opening night of a show is called "Hell Week." Quite simply, it is not pleasant.
Usually, those final days are spent adding the final drops of paint to the set, hanging lights and setting cues so the actors aren't standing in the dark and mostly just making sure that all of the things that can and do go wrong at the last minute don't cripple the show before it leaves the gate.
Cascades Theatrical Company's fourth show of its 35th season, Funny Money, was right at the beginning of Hell Week when I caught a rehearsal. There were undoubtedly problems, but that doesn't necessarily mean any of these issues will be present by opening night. In some ways, it is like listening to an album before it's mixed or watching the rough cut of a film: it's not the final product being judged.
Funny Money is a show best viewed with the brain shut all the way off (as are most farces). Inherent in the genre are contrivances like mistaken identities, miscommunication, pratfalls and tiny lies that snowball into massive ones, so the amount of enjoyment derived from it is almost entirely dependent on keeping the pacing quick enough so the audience doesn't have enough time to think about how ridiculous the plot is and how everything could be resolved in seconds if the characters would just take a moment and communicate.
Since most of the actors were still struggling to remember their lines, it caused the pacing of Funny Money to flounder and, since a farce lives and dies by its timing, it was very hard to allow the show to live up to its full ridiculous potential. This, despite some strong physical comedy moments and a wonderfully deadpan performance by William Futterman.
These things could easily be fixed by opening night as the script is fun and the entire piece should be good-natured and light, once firing on all cylinders. Even though it's hard to judge something before completed, the folks behind Funny Money have a long few days and nights ahead of them to tighten this show up before opening night. After all, it is called Hell Week for a reason.
Cascades Theatrical Company, 148 NW Greenwood Ave.
Tickets $12-$19 at cascadestheatrical.org