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A Christmas farce-ical with updated showtimes
Editor's note: See updated showtimes on right
If your holiday season begins with the Griswolds or the Grinch, you might have a new madcap entry point this Christmas with “Inspecting Carol.”
Olympic Theatre Arts’ play within a play runs Nov. 17-Dec. 1, as actors prepare their annual production of the classic “A Christmas Carol” under dire circumstances.
With the looming arrival of an inspector with the National Endowment for the Arts, local actors hopes rest with receiving an arts endowment to stay afloat. However, inner turmoil of egos and mixed opinions on the production stir up more trouble especially with an aspiring actor, Wayne, played by Karl Hutton, taking the stage.
Hutton, who takes part in his second OTA production, said Wayne is a nice, well-meaning guy that couldn’t act to save his life.
The other actors, mistaking Wayne for the NEA inspector, butter him in anyway possible, said director Lee Harwell, “Then the real inspector shows up and everything that could go wrong does,” he said.
“Inspecting Carol” was written by Daniel Sullivan and first performed in the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1991. OTA first presented the comedy in 1994 with Steve Tharinger directing. One cast member, Sharon DelaBarre, returns as director Zorah Bloch.
The play has a good reputation, Hutton said, and he’s been looking forward to auditioning for months.
“I had heard where the play was going and I wanted to take any part, but I’m glad I got this one,” he said.
Many of the lines in the first version were ad-libbed and based on Seattle actors at the time or in previous experiences, Harwell said.
Sequim’s version has changed a few things, such as taking out most of the foul language and off-handed references to deities.
“It wasn’t anything that added to the characters and didn’t endear the audience to them anyway,” Harwell said.
While the audience does see snippets of “A Christmas Carol,” much of the play is based in rehearsals as the audience learns more about the absurd cast.
Hutton said it’s quickly apparent his Wayne is not the inspector. “At rehearsals, things rapidly go down the toilet,” he said.
For example, Larry, played by Richard Hendricksen, uses Wayne as a vehicle to make absurd changes to the play that he’s been pushing for years.
“Let’s just say at one point one of the ghosts is in a diaper and poncho carrying a piñata,” Hutton said.
Returning actor Damon Little, 12, said his Luther, a spoiled rotten actor playing Tiny Tim, may be too big for his britches.
“He’s not very nice and he’s a little too big for the role,” he said. “For a large portion of the show, he’s sitting there eating Hershey Kisses.”
Harwell said there’s a number of brand new actors to OTA with this play and everyone is doing an exceptional job.
“With the role of Walter, (Sam Kirk) they add to the cast an African American as part of a multicultural initiative but he’s a fumbling actor who can’t remember his lines and they keep changing his lines on him,” Harwell said. “Audiences in this area are going to love it.”
“It’s an irreverent look at the relationship of the Christmas season, community theater and its audiences.”
The cast also features Tracy Williams, Debbie Bourquin, Richard Hauf, Steve Schultz, James Willis and Jan Bolla. Crew members are Penny Pemberton, Amanda Tait, Phil Mortenson, Pam Bennett, Glenn Barton, Carl Honore, Del DelaBarre, Elaine Caldwell, Rosalyn Scott, Patty Davis, Maryann Ballard and Patty Davis.
For more information, call 683-7326 or visit olympictheatrearts.org.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.