Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Staying Dead at Magic Valley Little Theater

I posted previously about Magic Valley Little Theater presenting my play "Stay As Dead As You Are" about a wacky high school reunion, but I came across this nice little promotional piece at Magicvalley.com. I recommend if you are in the Southern Idaho area to check out their production.

By Erica Littlefield
Times-News correspondent
Story published at magicvalley.com on Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Audience members will find themselves in the middle of the action at Magic Valley Little Theater's latest production.

"Stay As Dead As You Are" is interactive dinner theater, and the audience will have several opportunities to participate in the show. Director Julie Dodson said dinner theater is a more personal, intimate theater experience because the audience members can be involved as much or as little as they want.

"It's fun for them to be involved with the show," Dodson said. "You feel like you're part of the cast."

The dinner theater opened Thursday night at the Turf Club in Twin Falls and runs through Saturday.

Dodson said the show is a murder mystery with lots of comedy thrown in as well. It takes place at a reunion of Slightly Left of Central High School, class of 1995. Barbara "Babs" Gleeson, the peppy class president and organizer of the reunion, is doing her best to make sure things run smoothly, but things go awry. Two of the reunion's attendees are wounded in the parking lot, and when shots ring out and Egbert the janitor disappears, every classmate is a suspect.

After getting up close and personal with the actors as they mingle before the show, the audience can ask them questions to help figure out who the murderer might be.

"Right from the beginning, they're part of the show," Dodson said. "It's different than watching a typical show in an auditorium."

Interactive shows like "Stay As Dead As You Are" present a challenge for the cast because they test the actors' improvisation skills. Stacie Jensen, who plays Babs, said the majority of the show is scripted. However, when it comes to actors' contact with the audience, they have to think on their feet. Jensen said she and the rest of the cast have done exercises and worked with Dodson to brush up on their ad-libbing skills.

"I'm pretty much ready for anything," Jensen said. "It's never the same twice. It's always different, and it keeps you on your toes."

Dodson believes audiences will enjoy the play's zany characters and trying to find out whodunit. But she also has a caveat: Things might not be what they seem, and the culprit might not be who you think.

"It surprised me the first time I read it," Dodson said.

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