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Area production brings hilarious farce to the stage in Belfield

“It's the fourth in a series of plays about Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas,” says Jackie Hope.

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Josh Nichols, left, and Don Ehli rehearse for a play at the Belfield Theater.
Contributed / Jackie Hope
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BELFIELD, N.D. — The Cat Wranglers Productions is staging their fall play “Tuna Does Vegas,” at the Belfield Theater Oct. 14-16. Jackie Hope, who does the voice of “mama” in the play, said the production is a farce by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard.

“It's the fourth in a series of plays about Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas,” Hope said. “There are the same characters, more or less, in all the Tuna plays. They get into a lot of trouble.”

The most amusing aspect of the show is that two actors play 18 different characters, she added.

“Some costume changes are less than a minute long,” Hope said. “So it is as fun to watch the backstage as it is the front stage when things are going on.”

Don Ehli portrays 10 different characters in the play and Josh Nichols portrays eight.

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“I'm going to guesstimate we have probably about two dozen quick changes, at least for me, where we kind of go back and forth between characters in the same scene,” Nichols said. “I have one person who helps me dress 90% of the time and they essentially just make sure that all the costume pieces are there for the next scene. A lot of times I don't even know what the next character I'm gonna play is until I go offstage and I'm like, oh, yeah, that's what I'm changing into.”

He added that there is a lot of trust between the actors and the people helping them into their next costume.

“It's fun, but it's also stressful because we don't have a lot of time to do the costume changes in some cases,” Ehli said. “So you've got to be listening to what's going on on stage, responding as one character while you're switching to the next. And so we have to keep the momentum going for the whole show while we're backstage trying to get things adjusted.”

In “Tuna Does Vegas,” Arles and his wife Bertha have decided to renew their marriage vows in Las Vegas, Hope said.

After this, read more by Ashley Koffler

“And of course, half the town - which I think has maybe 40 residents - half the town has to follow along and we just have nine different scenes throughout the show of activities and naughtiness,” Hope said. “It is not a show for children.”

She added children will not be turned away, but parental discretion is advised for elementary aged children and younger due to profanity and smoking.
“It's a humorous show,” Nichols said. “You know, it's kind of chock full of just stupid, silly jokes and you know, kind of one liner punch lines. But a lot of the sort of humor in the show really does come from those costume changes.”

The show will be playing at the Belfield Theater October 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. and October 16 at 2 p.m.Tickets are available at the door for $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

“Just sit down, lay back and have fun and enjoy the pattern and the energy,” Ehli said. “It's a good way to wind down.”

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After this, read more Stark County news
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Ashley Koffler is a Killdeer, North Dakota native and Dickinson State University graduate, with a Bachelor’s Degree in writing, and minors in journalism and psychology. Formerly working in Community Affairs for Roosevelt Custer Regional Council for Development, her reporting focuses on the Dickinson city government, community features, business and agriculture — among others.
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