Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Montana Actors’ Theatre opens its 2009-10 season this week with a lighthearted adult comedy dealing with love, foreign mobsters, detective work on government corruption, and a Scottish hit man. “It’s fun. It’s just a fun play,” said Audrey Barger, who is directing the production of “Unnecessary Farce” by Paul Slade Smith. Barger said the play includes some adult situations and language and said people might want to see it before they decide to bring children to one of the productions, which stretch over the next three weeks. The play opens in the newly renovated theater in Cowan Hall on the Montana State University-Northern campus Thursday, has another production Friday and then takes a day off for a fundraiser and sponsorship drive for MAT. The amateur acting company is holding the Death By Chocolate fundraiser Saturday in the Student Union Building at Northern. That event includes a murder-mystery theater, hors d’ouevres and a bar, and auctioning of sponsorships for the plays and fine locally made chocolate desserts. “Unnecessary Farce” returns the following weeks for shows Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 22-24 and Oct. 29-31. Barger said rehearsing the play has been fun for all involved. The cast includes a good mix of experienced MAT actors and people new to the company’s productions, she added. The story takes place on a divided stage, depicting two connected hotel rooms. The audience can see all of the action, while the characters at least in one of the rooms are in separate scenes. The play tells the story of two police officers, Eric, played by Matt Twedt, and Billie, played by Kristiny Lorett, who are to investigate the meeting of the city’s mayor, played by Luke Pratt, with the city’s new accountant, played by Marta Farmer. Twedt and Lorett’s characters are set to watch and record the meeting using a video camera set up for that purpose. The mayor is suspected of embezzling from the city. But when the camera records some interactions the officers didn’t expect such as an early meeting between Twedt and Farmer’s characters things turn complicated. They become even more complicated when they hear the head of the city security, agent Frank, played by Cody Solomon, talk of the Highland hit man who works with the local mafia, The Scottish Clan. To round out the confusion, the mayor’s wife, played by Andi Daniel, continually walks on and off the set, looking for her husband adding to the confusion as characters go in and out of the two rooms, on and off the set, into closets and generally twist and turn as much as the play’s plot. Barger said it has taken a lot of work to put the actions together. “There’s a lot to it,” Barger said. “It’s really prop heavy. It’s a ton of timing they’ve had to work on. “We’ve all had a really fun time working on this play,” she added. Jay Pyette, president of MAT, said the initial remodeling of the theater was completed just in time for this production. MAT wanted to update the theater and bought the paint and planned how to remodel it, he said. Then the university stepped in with some help doing the actual painting. “We approached them and said we wanted to do some things,” Pyette said. “They graciously volunteered the labor.” Additional upgrades to the theater are planned for the future, Pyette added. The doors open at the theater at 7:30 p.m. each night, including the opening of the backstage lounge. The curtain rises at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults $8 for students and seniors, and s tudent s of Montana State University- Northern gain free admission with a valid student identification card.