Rank stench of Tuna hits Crowder stage


By JoJo Brinkhoff
Entertainment editor


Red, White and Tuna, directed by Shirley Gollhofer, will be performed at the Elsie Plaster Community Center on June 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. showing on Saturday. Set in the small Texas town of Tuna where the Fourth of July brings excitement to all the townsfolk who are preparing for the high school reunion that will take place on the fourth. On paper, the plot makes it sound like it would be fun to see, after previewing it however, the play lost its charm.

The set design consists of only a few chairs, a table and a bar that is arranged to suit each scene. This overall lack of a set makes it hard to tell where each scene takes place. Any other needed props are done through hand motions and gestures – a theatre technique known as pantomiming.

Having the characters pantomime instead of using actual props urges the audience to focus on the actors without any distractions. However, during scenes such as the kitchen and the reunion food booth scenes, it is hard to follow what the characters are doing because of all the pantomiming. Having items such as a radio and coffee mugs for the actors to interact with at least would have helped eliminate the confusing hand movements.

All the characters, both male and female, are play by two men; Drew Fethers, theatre instructor and costume designer, and Greg Green, local performer and theatre director. Because two men are playing all the  roles, timing is everything, something Fethers nailed.

When playing three different roles in one scene, Fethers was quick with costume changes, preventing any awkward pauses in the play. One flaw on his part, however, was the lack of voice changes between characters, especially with the female ones. He also seemed to have trouble getting into some of his characters. For instance, when he played the announcer on the radio, Fethers lacked the cowboy feel.

Green, on the other hand, did an excellent performance for his characters, which had their own personality and their own separate voices that are distinct for the audience. Even his female roles, especially Bertha, seem like a woman is really playing her, not a man.

However, Green seems as though he is going through the motions. When his character is in the kitchen, for instance, he seems like he is just doing what his script tells him to do. His actions lack emotion and purpose.

The costumes and music give the play a ‘60s or ‘70s feel, although this does not match with the script. For example, during the reunion food booth scene, the women wear ‘70s clothing and listen to a love song that was popular in the ‘70s, but they use a modern cellphone. Another example is when two of the characters are at an alien spaceship, joking about Justin Beiber.

Overall, the play is confusing because of the lack of sets and props that pinpoint when and where each scene takes place. Additionally, the humor is the type that only people who understand a southern or country lifestyle would comprehend. It is interesting to watch, though it is hard to follow and a little disturbing when the two men are wearing dresses of flirting with each other.