Outcast Productions opens ‘Greater Tuna’ at the fairgrounds

Posted in Feature, Theater and Dance

Whidbey Life Magazine editor

Outcast Productions director Sandy O’Brien said “Greater Tuna,” set in the fictional town of Tuna, Texas, is on the far side of the “corn-infused” spectrum.

The play is one of a series of four comedic plays written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard and has become somewhat of a cult hit in American theaters. This production opens Friday, Nov. 9 at the Black Box Theater at the Island County Fairgrounds and runs until Sunday, Nov. 18.

Ethan Berkley and Gabe Harshman play a series of crazy characters in OutCast Productions’ “Greater Tuna,” at the Black Box Theater in Langley. (Patricia Duff photo)

“This play pokes irreverent fun at some racist and bigoted ideas in the context of a radio show,” O’Brien said.

“It’s a perfect show for OutCast. It works towards our vision of theater on the edge, without the drama. Some theater-goers have too much drama in their lives to go and see more on stage.”

It’s a good show, she said, for folks who just want a good, corny evening of laughs.

Indeed, this comedic romp that takes place on a day in the life of small town Tuna, Texas, yuks it up with its colorful array of 20 characters played by only three actors.

Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie are the DJs at Tuna’s Radio OKKK, broadcasting at a whopping 275 watts. (Well, at least when they remember to turn the transmitter on).

In the headlines that day is the winning entry in the American Heritage Essay Contest, titled “Human Rights, Why Bother?”

Arles exits, and in comes Didi Snavely of Didi’s Used Guns. Didi exits and in comes weatherman Harold Dean Lattimer who says, “We have this swarm of locusts that are headin’ our way from Louisiana, but we figure the dust will kill a lot of ’em, and the rest’ll probably get blown away or drown in this tropical storm that’s headin’ our way from the coast.”

The comedy continues with Petey Fisk of the humane society talking about the duck problem and “Yippy,’ the Pet of the Week. Enter Phineas Blye, perpetual losing candidate for city council announcing he’s running again and revealing his plan to tax prisoners: “It would be easy, ’cause everyone knows where they are,” says Phineas.

The day continues, as Tuna’s citizen’s parade across the stage in all their outrageous and irreverent glory, commenting on life, politics and what makes them tick.

Actors Gabe Harshman, Ethan Berkley and Lars Larson make up the cast of characters who tumble through Tuna.

“Having these three gentlemen in the play made for a fun rehearsal environment,” O’Brien said, of the challenge presented to the actors to play so many parts, change costumes, work with props, etc.
“I also learned far more than I ever needed to know about “male” humor,” she added with a slight smirk.

The Outcast production team includes Jeff Fisher, who created the sound and Alex Wren, who is the lighting designer.

The play runs for two weekends only, Nov. 9 to 18., at the Black Box Theater at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.   Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for Seniors/students at www.brownpapertickets.com. It’s a small theater with limited seats, so buy tickets in advance to guarantee a seat.


Patricia Duff is an award-winning journalist whose most recent kudos include several first, second and third place awards in the categories of Best Arts Story and Best Education Story in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association 2011 competition.

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