Escabana in Da Moonlight playing at Visalia’s Ice House Theater

From left to right: Christina Enquist as Wolf Moon dance; Aaron Johnson as Reuben Soady; and Donald Ajluni as “The Jimmer”. Courtesy photo

Escanaba in Da Moonlight, running for three weekends at the Ice House Theatre at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia starting November 16, is a farce depicting the extreme measures to which an individual may go to force fate to give him his desire.

Reuben Soady has never bagged a buck. To his chagrin, his father and his younger brother have been successful many times. A family log indicates the age each male made his first kill, and no one wants to be the oldest male on record.

The Soadys, father and both sons, along with their friend Jimmer are at their cabin in the woods in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, for the annual deer hunt. Reuben is desperate for a kill. His Native American wife, Wolf Moon Dance, believes that she can help him succeed with potions and incantations.

Having Jimmer (Donald Ajluni) in the hunting party presents a challenge because he was at one time abducted by aliens. Since his return, he has had difficulty communicating. The Soadys frequently have to interpret what they believe he is saying.

Adding to the confusion is Tom, a Department of Natural Resources Ranger, who just appears and makes himself at home. The Soadys do not trust anyone from the DNR, particularly someone who tells them he has seen God on the ridge.

Confused? Good! That is all part of the hilarity that will have you rolling in the aisles. As noted by Aaron Johnson (Reuben), “It is such a break from reality — UFO’s and strange lights. Campy horror, but no one gets murdered.”

Hank Boone, who portrays the younger brother, Remnar, commented, “The humor is maintained through the heightened emotion. When each character enters, there is heightened energy and audience engagement. There is always something going on.”

Chuckling, Chad R Homan (Albert, the father) explained, “Laughter gets the endorphins going giving us a chance to relax, to get away from ourselves, improving our mood, and stimulating creativity.”

Pointing out the quick witted lines and dry humor of the playwright, John Olmos (Ranger Tom) suggested, “We all try to figure out what to do after Thanksgiving. Don’t fight the crowds. Come see this show and let us entertain you.”

Co-directors Belva and David Peden and Assistant Director Christina Enquist (who also is Wolf Moon Dance) emphasize the importance of comedic timing that makes farce great fun.

Belva Peden noted, “Be ready to laugh. It is a night of pure entertainment. You’ll go home with a smile on your face.”

Evening performances are at 7:30pm on 11/16, 11/17, 11/23, 11/24, 11/30, and 12/1, and matinees are at 2:00pm on 11/18, 11/25, and 12/2.

To purchase tickets go to the Visalia Players’ website at www.visaliaplayers.org, their Facebook page “Visalia Community Players”, or call 734-3900.

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