‘Red, White and Tuna’

Aug. 17, 2013 @ 05:07 AM

On the evening of Friday, Aug. 23, Petey Fisk, Vera Carp, Pearl Burras, Didi Snavely and several other characters will all leave the confines of small-town Tuna, Texas and return to the Rutherford County Senior Center stage for a presentation of “Red, White and Tuna.”

The play is directed by Robert Judd, a retired drama teacher who taught for 40 years.

This is the second of the “Tuna” plays to be performed at the Senior Center. Two years ago, the cast performed a production of “Greater Tuna,” and this year many of the actors have returned to reprise their original roles.

“The people who saw the earlier ‘Tuna’ play and remember the characters in the play will really enjoy it as they continue their ridiculous trek through small-town Texas,” Judd said.

The action of “Red, White and Tuna” occurs on the Fourth of July as the town of Tuna awaits the crowning of the Reunion Queen and the day’s festivities of donkey baseball, corn hole, fishing, a six-hole golf tournament and the prize-winning potato salad of Pearl.

LaVonda Hill will portray disc jockey Thelma on Tuna’s radio station OKKK, along with Judd who will play Arles.

Rhondda Norris will return as Vera, the president of the Better Baptist Bureau and a member of the Smut Snatchers, while Judy Creighton will be seen in the part of Carla.

Victoria Ecklund and Ruth Bennett, veteran performers from the Rutherford Community Theatre, will play characters Didi and Pearl, respectively. Ecklund and Bennett help to bring an abundance of theatre experience and professionalism to the stage.

Ecklund’s character, Didi, runs a used weapons store and Bennett’s character, Pearl, raises chickens much to the annoyance of the society maven, Vera.

Two women who have appeared in every play at the Senior Center, Ruth Kurkendall and Betty Sears, will return to the stage to play Helen and Inita who operate the ‘Hot to Trot Catering Service.’

Junior Johnson will perform the role of R.R., a man who has just returned to Tuna from a UFO abduction and is seeking a pair of suspenders and a divorce from Didi.

Missy Hughes and Judd will portray the psycho twins Charlene and Stanley on stage, with Louann Camilletti playing the role of their mother, Bertha.

In addition to being the play’s director and performing two roles on stage, Judd will also portray Petey, the humane society director.

Keith Ezell is a guest performer who has been added to the production in the role of Joe Bob, the director of the Tuna Little Theatre. Ezell is the principal at Mount Vernon/Ruth Elementary School.

Another special guest performer is Frank Ensley who will be seen in the part of Leonard, the mayor of Tuna. Ensley is the minister of White Chapel Church in Forest City.

“It’s always fun to see the cast who has worked so hard, who has been practicing for months, for it all to come to life for them,” said Barbara Hill, program and activity coordinator at the Senior Center. “It’s fun and it gives them a chance to have something different in their days to enjoy.”

The hilarious happenings of “Red, White and Tuna” will be performed at the Senior Center next Friday at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $2 each.

There will also be a free matinee dress rehearsal on Thursday, Aug. 22 at 1 p.m.

“The greatest thing about this is we have all met some of these characters in our life,” Judd said. “You look at them and think, ‘Gosh, I know somebody like that.’ And that’s what is fun — how people can relate to some of these characters.”