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The LaRue County High School speech and drama program is bringing Greater Tuna back to the stage this weekend. Directed by Katy Blair Cecil and Libby Sears Blair, the traditionally two-man show of 19 characters will be brought to life by five of the high school’s finest actors: Jeshua Logsdon, Ian Mather, Timmy Gibson, Mac Blair, and Cody R. Thompson. This romp through the “third smallest town in Texas” is described as fun for the whole family.
Logsdon, Mather, Gibson, Blair and Thompson all played roles in the fall production of Arsenic and Old Lace, and are thrilled to be involved in the drama program’s latest project.
“I love playing multiple characters; it really allows me to show off a wide range of skills,” said Logsdon who plays four different characters including the eccentric dog-killing elderly Aunt Pearl Burras. “It’s stressful trying to get all the costume changes down and keeping the voices straight, but this is the most fun I’ve ever had performing anything.”
Mather probably has the most challenging costume changes since he plays all three of the Bumiller children, who each have short back-to-back scenes with their mother, Bertha, played by Blair.
“I am having so much fun with this play, and the hectic nature of the backstage changes only makes the action on stage more exciting and keeps it fresh and alive,” Blair said.
Mather plays five characters in the play, reprising several of the roles his father played in the first production of the play in 1989. Mather is excited to be following in his father’s footsteps.
“I hope he doesn’t get jealous when I play them better than him,” Mather said.
The boys have been putting in long hours of practice the past three weeks to prepare for the production. Mather, Logsdon and Gibson have been pulling double duty on practices, since they also are preparing for their trip to speech nationals in Omaha over the Memorial Day weekend.
“It’s been interesting going back and forth between the characters, the voices, the costumes and then stopping all of that and jumping back into our speech pieces, but we’ve all managed to do it, somehow,” Gibson said.
Blair and Thompson round out the remaining five characters between them, including the town drunk, the sheriff, the local militia leader and Bertha’s philandering husband. The set was constructed by Mike Hornback of Hornback Construction and the set design and props are being handled by Edie Gibson. Tim Gibson Sr. is taking care of lights and sound for the play. Gordon Thomas, LCHS graduate and local designer and artist, has been consulting with Cecil and Blair and working with costuming the 19 characters.
“This has truly been another community project,” Cecil said. “Though no community members are starring in the play this time, our program would not be able to produce such quality performances if not for the support of this community. I am so lucky to have community members who recognize the importance of our program.”
“I hope the community will come out to see the play,” Cecil added. “The boys have put in an incredible amount of work and they are so tremendously talented. With all that they have had to juggle over the past few weeks – testing, preparing for end of year finals, speech practice, other sports and activities, work – these boys have shown a dedication to this program that is enviable.”
The play shows 7 p.m. May 21 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. May 22 in the LCHS auditorium.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and are available in advance or at the door.
To reserve tickets, call Cecil at LCHS at 358-2210.