After five years, Gerry Goodwin and John Lamb have reprised their Greater Tuna roles for the Palestine Community Theater’s production of “A Tuna Christmas.”
This hilarious Christmas sequel to "Greater Tuna" is set in the third-smallest town in Texas. Radio station OKKK news personalities Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie report on local Yuletide activities, including the hotly contested annual lawn-display contest. In other news, voracious Joe Bob Lipsey’s production of "A Christmas Carol" is jeopardized by unpaid electric bills.
Many colorful Tuna denizens will appear, some from "Greater Tuna" and others for the first time.
Three performances at the Historic Texas Theatre will run Dec. 13-15, starting at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
A complimentary reception at the theatre, 213 W. Crawford in downtown Palestine, starts at 6:30 p.m. opening night on Friday, Dec, 13.
An actor in the original production, Lamb said this play is, in effect, a second act to Greater Tuna. Those who missed the first play, however, still will enjoy “A Tuna Christmas.”
“This show features a menagerie of characters that inhabit Texas,” Lamb said. “You’ll know and recognize them, as people in the community or family members you grew up with.”
Lamb and Goodwin each portray 11 characters in this holiday play.
“It can be tricky,” Lamb said. “You have to make sure each voice is distinguishably different.”
In one scene, two of Lamb’s characters – one male, the other, female – argue off stage.
“At first you couldn’t tell the difference in the voices,” Lamb said. “I had to do some real vocal characterization work for that scene.
“A couple of them are easy because they are caricature voices. When I play Pearl, it is my Aunt Pearl. I used her voice in Greater Tuna. So I used it again this time.”
Actors must take this fun and silly play seriously to pull it off, Lamb said. “You can’t just say the lines; you have to love and inhabit each character.”
Changing for each character set also is a challenge.
“Each of us have two dressers,” Lamb said. “No way could we do all the costume changes by ourselves. We have velcro and snaps and dress in layers. At one point, I’m one person from the waist up and another from the waist down.”
Mary Alice Largent of Landmark Realty sponsors the show.
Tickets – $15 for adults and $10 for students 18 and under – are available at Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce, Palestine Visitors Center, and Discount Pools. Also available online at www.thetexastheater.com.
For more details, or to arrange interviews or photos, contact Director Carol Moore, 903-391-1212.