"Did R.R. really see a UFO, or did he imagine it? Who killed the judge, and why was the judge in a women's bathing suit?" Get the answers to these questions and more at "Greater Tuna," a two-man radio show come to life on the ProArts Playhouse stage.
"Tuna Texas is the third smallest town in Texas - yep, the Lone Star State - and the format is a radio show for the greater Tuna area," said director Doug Kendrick. "The two radio announcers introduce the other characters in the town of Tuna and what they're doing, and then the two actors portray all the different characters in the town - men, women, children and dogs. So it's a tour de force for the actors."
The show is a comedic expos of small town Southern life. "It presents some stereotypical Southern idiosyncrasies, which I think are kind of universal," said Kendrick.
Tom Althouse (left) and Jonathan Lehman
"I mean, we all have characters in our families, and since I'm from Texas it rings especially true for me. It stereotypes Southern bigotry, but it does it in a very honest and kind of loving way. The characters are very well-written."
Together the two actors play more than 20 different characters, but veteran performers Jonathan Lehman and Tom Althouse are up to the challenge.
"I'm just thrilled with the level of performance that we've got even at this stage in the game," Kendrick said. "All that's missing is an audience - you know, a room full of people laughing at these guys. They're very funny. And there's a lot of physical humor that comes just from the body types and the juxtaposition of a fat guy and a skinny guy. It's a Laurel and Hardy kind of comic team."
"Greater Tuna" plays 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through June 12 and 3 p.m. Sundays, June 5 and 12, at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Reserved seats are $20 for adults and $15 for students 18 and under. Kama'aina Nights are Saturday and Thursdays, June 2 and 9. Hawaiian residents get a discount for those performances. During the run, ProArts Playhouse will showcase artwork by Jack Gray and Leslie Granite. Call 463-6520 for tickets or more information.
In a show with so many quick changes - more than 40 in total, Kendrick estimates - the costumer and dressers are just as important as the actors.
"We're treating the costuming part of the show like you would the music in a musical," said Kendrick. "Each actor has a couple dressers backstage and it's all highly choreographed. The costumers and the dressers have been included from very early on and they're given as much rehearsal time as the actors."
Creating gender-bending costumes that fit the actors' bodies and the time constraints imposed by lightning-fast changes requires a lot of creativity.
"Marsha Kelly is doing the costumes, and I think she's into her second mile of Velcro, rigging everything up the back," said Kendrick. "In some ways the biggest challenge of this show was finding heels in size 12 the right color. And you think you can just go buy a dress off the rack that will fit a rotund man, but no, that's not as easy as it sounds on Maui. We ended up ordering a lot of stuff online. We ended up building a lot. Marsha's sewing her little thumbs off."
"The Taming of the Shrew": Imagine a future world that only exists in the pages of graphic novels, anime and sci fi classics like "Logan's Run" and "Barbarella." Now throw in a dash of Betty Page. Maui OnStage's "Shrew" features bold costume and set design, and multimedia technology. Electric Day-Glo eye candy placed in an industrial frame. This sci-fi "Shrew" morphs single dad Baptista into single mom (Lauren Burgess). Title character Katherina becomes a dominatrix-inspired super heroine (Genie Calagna). Lucentio is transformed into Lucentia (Lehua Simon), who pines and burns to win the love of the fair Bianca (Lia Krieg). The taming Petruchio is now a formidable super hero foe (Curtis "Chino" LaForge) the likes of which Katherina has never faced before. Flashy, sexy costumes, future world industrial set, multimedia technology with creative gender bending this is not your father's Oldsmobile. But then again the original Shakespeare productions would have featured men playing women.
"The Taming of the Shrew" plays its final weekend, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through May 29 at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets are $15, $20 and $40. Call 242-6969 or visit MauiOnstage.com for tickets.
"Kamp Krazy Tales": Taught by drama instructor Kristi Scott and music instructor Marti Kluth, students ages 5 to 10 will learn fun drama games and music techniques at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. The camp will culminate with a short performance for parents. Come have fun during summer break!
Preregistration is required. No previous experience is necessary. Tuition is $150. For more information call 276-4847 or visit mkluth.com.
MAPA summer camps
Calling all young actors ages 8 and upMaui Academy of Performing Arts offers top-notch training in acting, singing and dancing in this summer's Musical Theatre Camps. You'll get to apply all of that training onstage in full-scale productions of Disney's "Aristocats Kids" and "Honk, Jr." at Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. The Aristocats camp for students entering grades 3 to 8 runs Monday to June 22 with performances June 23 to 26. The Honk camp for students entering grades 6 to 12 runs June 8 to July 15 with performances July 15 to 24. With tuition less than $5 per hour, these camps are a great deal! MAPA also offers other dance and drama camps and classes throughout the summer.
For more information, go to www.mauiacademy.org or call MAPA at 244-8760.