For the City Times
Submitted by the Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre
Ah, the world of the theatre! Dark-walled drawing rooms with velvet-upholstered furniture; well-modulated voices, correctly pronouncing every vowel, articulating every consonant. Lengthy speeches delivered with passion and just a little too much emotion; two hours of a plot so intricate, you keep asking your neighbor if you missed something. Nevertheless, later in the lobby you feel strangely cultured and – if the truth be known – ever so slightly British.
Not this one.
Jeff Daniels’ Escanaba in da Moonlight is not your grandmother’s theatrical production. It’s a crazy, hysterical ode to family and that most sacred man cave – deer camp. The plot revolves around the reunion of the men of the Soady clan on the opening day of deer season in the Upper Peninsula. Thirty-five-year-old Reuben Soady is about to become the oldest Soady in the history of all the Soadys never to bag a buck. As his father says, “dat year camp was as tense as a moose’s butt during fly season.”
“I had my first out-of-body laughing experience watching the movie, and my second 12 years ago when WRCT first produced Escanaba,” said WRCT Executive Director Ellen Roeseler. “I kept wondering who was laughing so loud – and then realized it was me. My family has never hunted, I had no experience with deer camp and its rituals, and I was laughing so hard I had to watch the thing more than once to catch it all.”
Mike Barrett directs the cast which includes Tim Engelien as Albert, John Young as Reuben, Mark Vicker as Remnar, Jordan Haumschild as Jimmer Negamanee, Dick Antinoja as DNR Ranger Tom T. Treado, and Gretchen Powers as Reuben’s wife Wolf Moon Dance.
“We had so much fun doing this the first time, we knew it was worth doing again,” said Roeseler. “Forget what you think theatre is like, unless you think theatre is all about laughing your head off for two hours straight. Join the Soady’s at deer camp this year; you won’t regret it.”
WRCT’s production of Escanaba in da Moonlight runs Sept. 29-30 and Oct. 5-8. All performances are at 7:30, except the Sunday matinee which begins at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 each and may be purchased by contacting the WRCT office at 715-421-0435 or going online at www.wrctheatre.org.