Submitted By Bay Cagle
Greater Tuna (third smallest town in Texas) — is a “kwar” place to visit, and down-right hilarious, when you meet the local characters. But, good grief, you wouldn’t want to live there.
Bertha Bumiller, the only high C soprano in the First Baptist, wants the books like “Huckleberry Finn” out of public schools. ( “Huckleberry Finn” advocates boys dressing in ladies’ clothes.) Elmer Watkins is organizing a meeting to deal with them sharecroppers. And Reverend Spikes wants words that could be “misinterpreted” by impressionable youth struck from the dictionary — coke and clap, just to name two. Aunt Pearl Burras is spending her days poisoning dogs.
“Greater Tuna”, the play, is a well-crafted and slightly unbalanced view of a fictional small southern town in America, written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard. With actors Eric Reinhardt and Jed Jenkins, it is very well rendered in a funny North Georgia Acting Company production.
There is plenty to laugh at: men in dresses and political incorrectness. But the talent really kicks in with two actors playing 20 characters through a series of breathtakingly quick changes---thanks to a team of helpers led by Producer Ross Galbreath.
Jed Jenkins, is believable as pathetic Bertha, matriarch of a redneck family; untouchable as Klan leader Elmer; fiery as the reverend. He uses his multi-dimensional approach to the stage, by using different voices off-stage, while changing into Thurston Wheelis to announce the latest Tuna news---never missing a beat.
Eric Reinhardt provides an equally talented counterpart with a slew of sharply etched characters, each distinct in voice and manner. His crowd-pleaser is apologetic Petey Fisk, animal lover who trails off after each pathetic plea with a wistful “Thank you.” His Didi Snavely runs a close second, chain-smoking, second-hand gun seller who needs “nerve pills”. Behind the scenes, Eric conceived the sound design with small-town radio bits, great western swing and Patsy Cline music straight from the vault.
Director Tracey Gibson, asks the actors to give more so that the audience can expect more great theatre. The sensitive characterizations reveal a feeling of sadness radiating from the simple folks even as the audience laughs at them. The thwarted cheerleader, the adulterer’s wife, even the UFO believer. They all seek an escape from their small lives.
We can afford to laugh smugly at these ignorant, Texas country folk and their backwards ways, because we know we’d never live in a town that bizarre.
Or would we?
Come see it for yourself and be a part of the town of Tuna.
Show times are Thursday – Saturday May 24th, 25th ,26th at 7pm &Sunday May 28th at 2pm. The show will be held at the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce.