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News and quick-hit commentary from around mid-Michigan ... from the Morning Sun.

Friday, September 14, 2007

“I have the best job in the world!”

That’s a recurring thought when assignments take me into theaters and rehearsal halls to shoot photos for concert or stage play preview stories that appear in the Sun’s Thursday entertainment supplement, Time Out. There are some wonderful home-grown performing groups in our neck of the woods. They are community treasures, and I get to see and hear them do their things, and call it work.

Most recently the best job in the world put me in Mount Pleasant’s Broadway Theatre, where the resident acting troupe was rehearsing Jeff Daniels’ play, Escanaba in da Moonlight.

I left with a bundle of photos and couple of strong impressions.

First, the stage is a wonderfully detailed and evocative facsimile of a Michigan deer hunting camp. Bravo for the set designers and managers.

Second, the dialogue is important and the lines are consistently well-delivered, but it is the physical acting that takes this production over the top.

John Klak, as Reuben Soady is a master of facial expression, eyes and gesture. Todd Heller as Remnar Soady, David Ouilette as Albert Soady, Lucus Keppel as Ranger Tom and Stephanie Peters as Wolf Moon Dance Soady all bring their characters to life with posture. And nobody tops Paul Funnell, dressed in plaid woolies as jumpy Jimmer Negamanee, who does it all and just never stops moving.

If their antics can’t make you laugh, nothing will.

Escanaba in da Moonlight opens with a sold out special premier tonight, but tickets remain available for performances on Sept. 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23.


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