The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 28, 2014

'Greater Tuna' a showcase for two talented actors

CARTHAGE, Mo. — For about six weeks, director Kendra Goepfert and actors Doug Musick and Ray Goepfert rehearsed in silent rooms.

Reading lines and blocking scenes, all they heard was each other.

Now that "Greater Tuna" is under way, Kendra Goepfert said it's good to hear feedback from an audience.

"After all that time, we forget what's funny," Goepfert said. "And the whole show is funny."

"Greater Tuna" is the story of the people who live in the third-smallest town in Texas. Though the town is small, the personalities of Charlene, Jody, Bertha, Hank and Stanley Bumiller, Didi and R.R. Snavely, Vera Carp, Petey Fisk, Thurston Wheelis, Arles Struve, Phinas Blye, Helen Bedd, Sheriff Givens, Elmer Watkins, The Reverend Spikes, and Yippy the dog are big.

Like the town, the cast is small. "Greater Tuna's" claim to fame is how a cast of two plays more than 20 characters throughout the play. Originally performed by Jaston Williams and Joe Sears, the play runs each actor through a gauntlet of characters.

Goepfert said the two actors in her production have been spectacular in their many roles. They started out reading scripts and figuring out each character, evolving each one into something different than what they originally thought.

"These two guys are so incredibly talented," Goepfert said. "It's a pleasure to see their creative process. The show is really all about them."

The actors are aided by two talented backstage crew members who help with wardrobe. Goepfert said that many of the costumes are made to be changed out in just a few seconds.

Goepfert said the show has been on her radar to direct for a long time.

The play's sendup of Southern living, portrayed on the strength of eccentric characters, features a well-written script, she said.

"We all know someone like these characters," she said.

Want to go?

"Greater Tuna" will be presented from today until March 30. Showtime is at 7:30 today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Dinner is served an hour before showtime.

Tickets: $24.50, $21 for seniors, youth and students, $12 for children.

Details: 417-358-9665.

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