Grand Lake / Theatre: Cheering encouraged for holiday hero
December 21, 2007
The long-standing battle between good and evil continues as the Grand Arts Council presents its annual holiday melodrama Dec. 26-31 in the Grand Lake Historical Community House at the town square.
This year’s selection is called “Trapped in the Villains’ Web” or “Weave Me a Loan” and is a classic tale in true melodrama form. Audience members are encouraged to come out and have fun while they participate in cheering on the good guys (and gals) while booing and hissing at the villains.
Most of the action takes place at the Made in Paris Hat Shop in Grand Lake, at the turn of the century. Villain Beau Weevil is in debt up to his mustache, but with the help of Fifi Du Bayou, co-owner of the hat shop, and his ignorant nephew Dogtemper, Weevil plots to rob the wealthy hat shop patrons of their jewels. The audience begins to dislike the infamous threesome more after they meet Emma and Little Sally, employees who are overworked, underpaid, and starving. They are evidence that Du Bayou and Weevil are running a “sweatshop,” with workers supplied by Mr. Reckonwith from the local orphanage.
Things start to lighten up as Cora Cornseed and Victoria Ox-Bow arrive on the scene, but before long Weevil’s dastardly plans include marrying the innocent, not-too-bright, and lovely Ox-Bow. After all, she is the “richest girl in the territory of Arizona.” And Weevil is undaunted after meeting Johnny Sage, known far and wide as the Arizona Kid, who has followed Ox-Bow all the way from Dead Man’s Bend to proclaim his love for her.
Orson Buggy, who has purchased Weevil’s markers at the racetrack, adds to Weevil’s problems with threats to do him harm if he doesn’t pay up. So Weevil hastily arranges a marriage between Dogtemper and Ox-Bow, thinking that he will then eliminate the newlyweds and inherit Ox-Bow’s money.
Act II has Weevil still scheming about how he can acquire Ox-Bow’s riches. But when Mrs. Manypenny and Mrs. Tanratty arrive at the hat shop wearing their diamonds, Weevil sees another opportunity and orders Dogtemper to steal the diamonds later that evening.
A wrench is thrown into Weevil’s marriage plans for Ox-Bow and Dogtemper when Gussie shows up claiming that Dogtemper is her husband. Weevil’s schemes further unravel with Ox-Bow’s refusal to marry him and hero Sage comes into the scene.
Local volunteers who are performing the characters are Annie Ginsberg (Fifi Du Bayou), Robert Canon (Beau Weevil), Mark Ginsberg (Dogtemper), Jim Cervenka (Mr. Reckonwith), Allaura Cox (Victoria Ox-Bow), Drew McCullough (Johnny Sage), Lew Schwerin (Orson Buggy), Lisa Tarr (Mrs. Manypenny), Carolyn Acorn (Mrs. Tanratty and Gussie), and Schelly Olson (Olive). Although this is a first for Tarr and Olson, most of the other cast members have been seasoned volunteer actors with the melodrama or another of the Grand Arts Council’s endeavors, Tombstone Tales. This is a second season for Cox to play the beautiful heroine.
Haley Olson, Moriah Brown, and Ashley North are the youngest of the troupe. They play Emma, Little Sally, and Cora Cornseed respectively. Olson, who is a fourth grader at Grand Lake Elementary and Brown, who is in sixth grader with the Colorado Virtual Academy, both make their melodrama debuts this holiday season.
This is about the 16th play for North, an eighth grader at East Grand Middle School who aspires to be a Broadway actress.
Once again, for her eighth season, Director Barbara Ahrens is keeping them all in line. She wanted to express the Grand Arts Council’s gratitude to the cast, crew and everyone else helping to put on the play. At her side is Linda Carlson, producer for the show for the fourth year.
As the producer, Carlson gets to do “a little bit of everything” and said she most enjoys working on the costumes and watching actors create their characters. She’s also the artist behind this year’s quilt, “Ode to the Pines” which is another special benefit for the Grand Arts Council. Tickets for a chance to win the quilt are $5 each or five for $20.
Do Weevil and Ox-Bow tie the matrimonial knot? Does Weevil succeed in throwing his possible bride off Rainbow Bridge into the icy waters of Shadow Mountain Reservoir? Does Gussie take Dogtemper back or does he get to stay in the doghouse? Are Orson, Mr. Reckonwith, Emma and Little Sally really who they say they are? Does Sage get the chance to tell Ox-Bow how he feels about her?
Audience members are invited to find out during this localized homage the classic melodrama, a benefit for the Grand Art Council and its mission to renovate the Grand Arts Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for kids under 12; plus groups of eight or more can get adult tickets for $12 each.