Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Classic fish tale — Theater parodies epic story to fit current events

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

An epic tale of love and betrayal, jealousy and triumph, a fish camp and a seriously ugly dress comes to Nikiski this week, as Triumvirate Theatre remakes the classic tale, “Gone With the Wind.”

In Triumvirate’s rendition, held Friday at the Nikiski Recreation Center, gone are the southern plantation of Tara and the backdrop of the Civil War. Instead, “Gone With the Fish” is set on a fish camp out north, with the fishermen going off to Washington, D.C., to ask for a bailout. Instead of the Yankees coming to town, it’s the feds coming with a corruption sting.

The show loosely follows the plot of the classic, 1939 firm featuring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, with the most memorable moments making an appearance, albeit in an altered state. There’s the love triangle between Scarlett, Ashley and Rhett, although Ashley is from a respectable oldtime fishing family and Rhett, the scalawag, is rumored to be connected to a plot to develop a large, earthen embankment to hold a giant containment lake at Pebble Mine.

Let’s all say it together, now: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a dam.”

Then there’s the gown. The classic scene where a broke Scarlett has her housemaid make an elaborate dress out of the only fancy fabric left in the Tara — her mother’s parlor drapes — takes on new meaning this day and age when most homes sport miniblinds, rather than heavy, elaborate curtains.

It’s this kind of humor, as likely to make the audience groan as laugh, that makes the show entertaining, said Carla Jenness, who wrote the script.

“It’s a pretty funny parody,” she said. “There’s some wacky Alaska stuff and lots of talented actors and actresses, so it should be a lot of fun.”

Starring in the show are Carla and Chris Jenness, Joe Rizzo, Angie and Jamie Nelson, Charlissa Magen, Chris Pepper and Lucas Peless. The Nikiski High School dance troupe, with choreography by Phil Morin, will lend their talents to a dance number, the Virginia reel.

No, not the fishing pole kind, although that would have been funny, Jenness said.

The show is preceded by dinner, catered by Davis and Sons Pit BBQ, of Kenai. Following the performance is an auction of artwork and Hollywood memorabilia, including pieces by Jim Evenson, Kathy Zerbe, Connie Goltz, Rie Munoz, and John Van Zyle.

The event is Triumvirate’s fourth annual classic movie spoof and fundraiser. In previous years they’ve done “Cast-a-Blanca,” “The Maltese Salmon” and “Citizen King.”

This is the first time they’ve held the event in Nikiski. Jenness said they’re doing it to reconnect with the community and spread the word about the theater building they’re renovating on the North Road.

“We kind of wanted to get our community out here excited about the new theater that will hopefully be up and running in the next few years,” she said.

They bought a warehouse building in 2007 and are working to turn it into a used bookstore and theater space similar, but much larger, than Triumvirate’s venue in the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna. They’ve got siding on the building, the roof is fixed up, the interior walls are up, the plumbing and electrical systems have been roughed in and there’s a new, donated sign out front along the Kenai Spur Highway. They hope to get Sheetrock up, finish electrical and plumbing work and get the bookstore portion open by late summer or fall, and then work on renovating the theater space, Jenness said. The show is a way to update people on the group’s progress.

“It’s kind of a ‘here we are, welcome to the neighborhood,’” Jenness said. “We did an informational meeting in the spring. This is just kind of bringing our brand of wacky humor out north. We thought it would be fun to remind people of where we are and that we’re working away.”

“Gone With the Fish” is Friday night at the Nikiski Recreation Center. Tickets are $25, available at Triumvirate Bookstore in Soldotna, or call ahead to reserve them at the door. Dinner is at 6 p.m. with the show at 7 p.m. and auction following. For more information, visit www.triumviratetheatre.org.

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