I’m a big fan of one of the theatre troupes in town (Circle Ensemble Theatre Company). If you've been reading this blog for a while then you know of my journey from ordinary fan to fan that’s able to correctly spell both “theatre” and “troupe.” It was a long, strange trip.
Circle takes risks. They do big shows. They do small shows. They do musicals. They do heart-string-tugging dramas. They allow local nut jobs to blog about them. And they pull you into their world better than most troupes. I talked with Myron “MyMy” Tucker, actor/backstage mainstay for Circle, who accurately summarized something that I’d been trying to put into words for months. “Each time these shows open I’ve never seen before, it’s weird at first, but, by the time they open, I always wind up falling in love with them.” Myron’s got it figured out, and he managed to say it all in ten seconds. I’ve been trying to say that for months. Damn him.
Circle has a show, “A Tuna Christmas,” running this weekend and the next at the new New Earth. It’s really new, and it does feel homey and welcoming, like your grandmother’s house, but with a dance floor and a full bar. It even still has that new bar smell.
I’d never seen the show before, and I only dropped by for a half a rehearsal, but I laughed. I laughed multiple times. It’s a clever, well-written show. There are only two actors, but they each play a dozen different roles, becoming various inhabitants of the (hopefully) fictional town of Tuna, Texas. Tuna is all that you think about Texas times ten and then times ten again.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I've got to tease you a little. There’s a Christmas tree decorated with bullets and hand grenades. You’ve got to love a play with the lines, “Virgil, stop throwing rocks at the holy family,” “As my grandmother always said, ‘You just give nature some space and it won’t try to kill you,” and “Sharlene, you have five seconds to get into the Christmas spirit before I hairlip you!”
Actors Dusty Drake and Scotty Gannon each play a lot of different roles in this sequel to Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard’s "Greater Tuna". Joelle Ré Arp- Dunham directs. Kirby Amick and John Prechtal accompany on banjo and guitar. Kirby, when he’s on banjo, even wears those little finger pick/comic book villain claws that he calls “Scruggs style” (after the bluegrass legend).
They manage to do a lot with a little, using rotating doors to create believable multiple sets on one small stage. It’s all Christmas-themed. It’s all a little bit crazy, but realistically so. It’s so Texas that it makes Georgia look downright sophisticated. Most of all, it’s fun. Check it out December 13, 14, 19, 20, & 21 at 7:30 pm at New Earth Athens, 227 W Dougherty St.
$20, and a dollar from each ticket sold goes toward planting a tree.
December 19 is a special performance night when 20% of all bar sales and 25% of all tickets will be donated to AIDS Athens.