Archived Story

Queen’s Attic reels in ‘Greater Tuna’

Published 3:13pm Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two years ago, they performed “The Pageant” in their theatrical debut.

Last year, they presented “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

And this year, the Willow Point Players theater group is back with “Greater Tuna.”

Set in the fictitious town of Tuna, Texas, “Greater Tuna” is a satire on life in rural America and features an eclectic cast of characters – from DJs Arles Struvie and Thurston Wheelis; to UFOlogist and town drunk R.R. Snavely; to Yippy the dog, the humane society’s pet of the month for five months in a row.

“It’s a little different from the last two,” director Nancy Hodges said of the play. “The last two have been musicals and this one is a comedy.

“It’s about a small town community, which people can relate to, and there are a lot of colorful characters, which people can also relate to. It’s a lot of fun and we involve the audience.”

The Willow Point Players – a group of residents from Russell Lands On Lake Martin’s Willow Point neighborhood – will perform “Greater Tuna” at the Shoppes of Queen’s Attic June 7 to benefit MainStreet Alexander City.

“Greater Tuna” is a popular American play that began as a simple party skit based on a political cartoon in 1981 in Austin, Texas. It premiered off-Broadway in 1982; and, by 1985, was the most-produced play in the country. The quirky citizens of Tuna are often portrayed by only two actors. While that’s not the case for the Willow Point Players’ production, there are numerous cast members with multiple roles.

“We’ll be playing a lot of dual roles,” Hodges said. “And some men will be women and some women will be men.”

Larkin Radney portrays DJ Arles Struvie, as well as Jody Bumiller.

“(Struvie) is the disc jockey of OKKK and I absolutely think that Tuna, Texas is the place to be and is the center of the universe,” Radney said. “…Then I also play Jody who is a young boy who’s got this problem with dogs. He brings every dog he’s ever seen home. I’ve got 10 dogs and my mother is extremely upset.”

Keith Koon stars as Struvie’s DJ sidekick, Thurston Wheelis, as well as Hank Bumiller.

“Thurston and Arlis are the two DJs and they play off of each other and they talk over each other all the time,” Koon said. “They just have a good time. It’s just a country station that’s set back in the 1960s. The whole play is really about the ignorance of bigotry, I would say, and Arles and Thurston do their part to demonstrate the bigotry.”

Karen Treadwell depicts both Didi Snavely, owner of Didi’s Used Weapons, and Pearl Burras, who is addicted to killing dogs.

“This will be my debut,” Treadwell said. “I went last year to watch them perform ‘Putnam County Spelling Bee’ and they were having so much fun that I wanted a piece of the action. It’s an opportunity to meet some new friends and have a good time.”

Rounding out the “Greater Tuna” cast is Mark Allen Treadwell as The Reverend Spikes and Phinas Blye; Jim Clinton as Elmer Watkins and Yippy the dog; Gene Gwaltney and Luke Robinson as Sheriff Givens; Chad Kison as Chad Hartford and Leonard Childers; Libby Glass as Carol Dean and Charlene Bumiller; Regina Clinton as Petey Fisk; Lynn Grimsley as Bertha Bumiller; Hancy Hodges as Stanley Bumiller; Jay Harrell as Vera Carp; Rod Neil as R.R. Stavely.

The group decided last year to help MainStreet Alexander City and raised $1,200 for MainStreet during their performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at the Shoppes of Queen’s Attic.

“We have a lot of fun doing this,” Radney said. “The practices are fantastic. Putting on the plays is terrifying, but fun. It gives you an opportunity to be with people you wouldn’t ordinarily be with and interact. We have a great time.”

The MainStreet Alexander City performance will be held at The Shoppes of Queen’s Attic June 7 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15.

For information about purchasing tickets to either show, contact Karen Kison at 256-212-1486.