Friday, Feb. 26, 2010

When The Buck Looks At You In Elm Grove

Strange Feelings Of Familiarity at the Sunset Playhouse

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Yes, it’s a bit simplistic and in places quite tacky. Once you get beyond the surface of it, the Jeff Daniels play Escanaba In Love is actually pretty funny. This was nothing I wasn’t expecting from the Sunset Playhouse production. I don’t know that I’d expected a stuffed deer to be looking at me the whole evening, though. That was a bit weird.

 

The deer head in question was on loan from the Boulder Junction Grill on 76th and Forest Home. (I believe that’s a picture of the deer in its natural habitat above.) The Sunset Playhouse is loaning the deer head for it's production of Escananba In Love.

The late buck plays the role of The Great Soady Ridge Buck . . . a creature legendary to the characters inhabiting the story. A majestic creature that bravely gave its life to Alph Soady for no discernable reason. And the picture above doesnt really do justice to just how majestic he looks onstage . . . but it was a bit comforting to have been seted on the left side of the stage in just the right row that the bucks head was tilted in my direction . . .making eye contact with me throughout the entire performance.

Having grown-up in northeastern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula  accents that the ensemble attempted to acquire for the purposes of the play and its north woods setting felt more than a bit off. It was slightly jarring hearing actors with real talent for comedy and very real emotion sound so completely out of synch with the northern Wisconsin accent I had been so familiar with growing-up. With the buck looking at me throughout the entire play, the slightly disorienting connection somehow made sense, though . . . the late buck has something of a calming presence . . . odd . . .

Sunset Playhouses Escanaba In Love runs  through March 20th. A review fo the show runs in this weeks Shepherd-Express.

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