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WEST HAWAII TODAY | BIG ISLAND ENTERTAINMENT SCENE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2016 | 3 LIVE THEATER GONE HYSTERICALLY WRONG LEFT: Skyla Lee as Penelope is convinced that Alabama Miller, played by Rich Givens, is crazy. RIGHT: Penelope snuggles with on-stage boyfriend, P.J. Banks, played by Robert Haber. COURTESY PHOTOS/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY Missed cues, forgotten lines and organized chaos, make for theater hilarity when Waimea Community Theatre presents “Drop Dead,” by playwrights Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore this evening and Sunday and Oct. 21 and 23 at Parker School Theatre in Waimea, as well as at Honokaa People’s Theatre on Oct. 29 and 30. Most theater people fear the combination of errors that lead to such a flop, but in the case of “Drop Dead,” these production disasters create a hit comedy of murderous proportions. Produced off- Broadway in 1986, then in Los Angeles in 1991, “Drop Dead” successfully played to soldout theaters and appreciative audiences. “The story is about a play within a play,” said director Dave Merrin. “It immediately just struck me as funny. It had so many aspects of theater and the things that go horribly wrong when we are on stage, that it just drew me to it. We had a couple of what you call test audiences watch the play in rehearsal and we had a great response. Funny is funny whether you get the theater references or not.” “Drop Dead” focuses on the cast and crew of a theater company as they do their best to perform a murder mystery with hilariously disastrous outcomes. This “playwithin a-play” is cast with has-been actors trying to redeem their careers in a production where if something can go wrong, it does. Actors are murdered for real, and the wannabe thespians struggle to stay alive so they can take their coveted curtain call. Egos and nepotism are alive and well in this spoof on community theater. “Act one is set at the rehearsal the night before,” said assistant director Hanner Harsh. “The actors are trying to go through the show and it’s not going well. People are forgetting their lines and missing their cues. Then there’s a murder during the act. The second act is opening night in front of a live audience and murders keep happening as the show goes on. It’s basically just crime and chaos. It’s a mix of horror and hilarity.” Waimea Community Theatre also looks forward to being back at Parker School Theatre. “We haven’t been there since March when we closed ‘Taming Of The Shrew,’” said Merrin. “This has been our home theater for a long time, so we’re happy to be back there. We’re also doing two final shows at Honakaa People’s Theatre, which is kind of our new home. I find that people will drive from Waimea to Honokaa to experience that theater. The people of Honokaa have been so gracious. They are really good about welcoming us and they love the fact that we bring great theater to them.” The cast includes James Little, Skyla Lee, Kurt Simon, Dan Bal, Dedrie Miller, John Sucke, Robert Haber, Walker Mcmullen and Rich Givens. Produced by Dan Bal, assistant producer is Bailey Givens; set designer is Destiny Nelson and stage manager is Shannon Nelson. Parker School Theatre performances are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Honokaa People’s Theatre performances are 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at Without Boundaries, Waimea General Store, Waikoloa Mailbox and Taro Patch Gifts. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, and $11 students/children. Info: www.waimeacommunitytheatre. org BY KAREN ROSE SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY


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