• Four plays, four casts, four directors stage an evening of fun
By Randi Somers
Homer’s outstanding community theater on the Spit, Pier One, has managed to outdo itself again as it concluded two weekends of what was billed as “light” comedy; four plays by three Alaskan playwrights and one from Syracuse, NY.
Director Nancy Chastain, with the assistance of Ken Landfield, perfectly aligned the plays for an evening of fun.
Valdez creator Dawson Moore wrote the first play of the evening, “Alyson & the Great Bagel Mistake.” Lead actor Peter Sheppard plays lovesick Austin Johnson who is afraid to approach Alyson, played by Maria Fourier. His friends and former lovers, Amber (Amy Christianson,) Shannon (Lauren Cashman,) Dylan (Jody Gaines) and Barry (Cody Gaines), hassle and goad him on until he finally makes his move.
Moore wrote the play during an Alaska Overnighters’ session, a write-rehearse-perform play slam that calls for creating a play from start to finish in 24 hours. He was inspired when the woman he thought was his soulmate told him she was engaged to someone else.
The second play, “You Damn Well Can Take It With You,” is by University of Alaska Fairbanks science writer Tom Moran.
This play has Peter Norton playing a professor of Egyptology, who adopts the persona of an Egyptian who is preparing for his afterlife. He asks his ex-wife, Louise, played by Margaret Quarton, to help him prepare to take his goods to his tomb. His primary concern is his old, dead Camaro with no wheels. The play closes with him calling a mechanic to fix his car, possibly implying that he’s not quite ready for the tomb, and his goal may be to win back his wife.
After a brief intermission, the audience is “at sea” with two brothers-in-law searching for whales in an old 15-foot skiff.
Written by Homer’s Nancy Lord, the play has us adrift in the Gulf of Alaska after Owen (Aaron Selbig) accidentally drops a spark plug overboard.
Capt. George (Ken Landfield) tries to keep the focus on whales while Owen keeps talking about similar situations where the survivors wound up eating the dead, and then killing and eating down to the last man in the skiff. In the end, they see a boat on the horizon and wave an oar and life vest to attract rescuers.
The evening concludes with “Dead in the Water, A Play Noir for Three Hams” written by the only non-Alaskan, Aoise Stratford of Syracuse, NY.
Penny Goodshoes (Kathleen Gustafson), a woman with a pig fetish, kills her lover Andrew Wolf, played by Cody Gaines, because he won’t put on a Kermit the Frog costume or call her Miss Piggy to participate in her fantasy.
The play is laced with allusions to children’s stories. While police officer (another “pig” allusion) Paula Wise (Linda Ellsworth) is questioning Goodshoes, Wolf comes back to life and contradicts everything she says.
She finally says, “You’re dead, so shut the hell up.” Then, when the policewoman presents incontrovertible evidence that Goodshoes has killed Wolf, she kills her, too.
In all, it was an unusual set of plays and a very entertaining evening with excellent performances by all 13 actors.
This weekend Pier One Theatre presents Channel Surfing, the culmination of a three-week youth/teen theatre camp with shows at 7 p.m. June 22 and 3 and 7 p.m. June 23.
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