@ The Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St.
 

More Fun Than Bowling

By Steven Dietz, directed by Ceil Herman

  • Left: (L to R) Loretta (Megan Thompson) and Lois (Katie Richardson) share some “girl takl”
  • Center: (L to R) Lois (Katie Richardson) gets some bowling tips from Jake (Jeff Peckham)
  • Right: (L to R) Jake (Jeff Peckham) is spied on by the mysterious Mr. Dyson (Danny Wade)
  • Left: (L to R) Loretta (Megan Thompson) gives Lois (Katie Richardson) a present
  • Right: (L to R) Lois (Katie Richardson) gets some more bowling tips from Jake (Jeff Peckham)
  • Above: Molly (Dale Peckham) and Loretta (Megan Thompson) look on as Lois (Katie Richardson) gets a bowling lesson from Jake (Jeff Peckham)
  • Above: Molly (Dale Peckham) and Jake (Jeff Peckham) get a pleasant surprise

Aug 14-Aug 30, 2009

FRI AUG 14,21 | 8:00 PM
SAT AUG 15,22 | 8:00 PM
SUN AUG 23,30 | 2:30 PM
THUR AUG 27 | 7:00 PM

Description

Whether one bowls or not, the 2009-2010 season opener at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main Street, Downtown Mall, Las Cruces, "More Fun than Bowling," guarantees an evening of hilarity. Opening Friday, August 14, at 8:00 p.m. and running through Sunday, August 30, Steven Dietz's two-act, five-character philosophical comedy directed by No Strings Theatre Company's Artistic Director, Ceil Herman, combines suspense and humor in a small Midwestern town.

"More Fun than Bowling's" well-conceived dialogue drives the action on a most unlikely set, three large mounds of dirt, uniquely conceived by designer Peter Herman. Along with the preciousness of life, the accepting of the moment and one man's way of approaching surprises and responsibilities, "More Fun than Bowling" tickles the imagination through its take on ownership of a family business, acceptance of death, and its unique approach to a fanciful plot line.

Actors Jeff and Dale Peckham, father and daughter in real life, play Jake and his daughter Molly. Jeff Peckham has been seen in LCCT's "I Remember You," Barefoot in the Park,", and "And Then There Were None." Dale Peckham has been seen in LCCT's productions of "Lil' Abner,", West Side Story," and Scrooge." At Onate High School, she was stage manager for "Grease" and performed in "Charlie Brown - The Musical" and "Sometimes I Wake Up. She is attending NMSU this fall as a Piano Music Major.

Jake's two wives are played by Katie Richardson as Lois and Megan Thompson as Loretta. Katie Richardson has appreared in NSTC's productions of "Almost Maine," "Baby With The Bathwater" and "What I Did Last Summer." Megan Thompson has performed in LCHS's production of "Beauty and The Beast" and has performed with Missoula Children's Theatre.

Danny Wade, usually involved with the technical aspects of NSTC's productions, makes his stage debut as the mysterious Mr. Dyson. The actors convince audiences that while "More Fun than Bowling" could be a metaphor for the incongruities of life, they themselves are right there on stage having a good deal of fun bringing the play to life. The scenic and lighting design is by NSTC's Resident Designer, Peter Herman and costume design is by Cortney Newtson. Leah Angelo is the Stage Manager and Rorie Measure is Assistant Director.

Credits

Jake
Lois
Loretta
Molly
Mr. Dyson
Assistant Director
Costume Design
House Manager Coordinator
Light/Sound Board
Producer
Projection Design & Photography
Properties Artisans
Properties Artisans
Publicity
Publicity
Scenic, Lighting And Properties Design
Set Construction
Set Construction
Set Construction
Sound Design
Stage Manager

Reviews

'More Fun than Bowling' a hit
Local play, quirky and bittersweet

- By Jonathan Butz, Las Cruces Bulletin

Even if you don't enjoy the occasional game of bowling, the quirky, romantic and often poignant comedy, "More Fun than Bowling," about a man and his struggles with love and marriage, may be right up your alley.

The No Strings Theatre Company and the Black Box Theatre bring to life this comedy, which uses bowling as a template to parallel the unpredictable crashes and spins of life, while using clever dialogue, careful plotting and a strong cast to create an exceptional portrayal of the pains and joys of love.

Directed by NSTC Artistic Director Ceil Herman, "More Fun than Bowling" introduces us to Jake (Jeff Peckham), a bowling fanatic who owns and operates the "Dustbowl," a lively bowling alley located in the small Midwestern town of Turtle Rapids. With the help of his young daughter, Molly (Dale Peckham), Jake struggles to operate the "Dustbowl" while navigating his way down life's lane of heartbreak and death

Tensions rise as we also discover a shadowy figure new in Turtle Rapids known only as Mr. Dyson (Danny Wade), who keeps a watchful eye on Jake, gun in hand.

Originally written by Steven Dietz, the play works well with the Black Box Theatre's small space, playing out in two acts over a minimal set. The music of Tom Waits accents the feel and tone of the play, while the atmospheric lighting effectively carries the story and creates a truly surreal and dream-like tale told through flashbacks and memories.

The entire play takes place on a hilltop overlooking the "Dustbowl" and the town of Turtle Rapids. Atop the hill lie the graves of Jake's two former wives, Lois (Katie Richardson) and Loretta (Megan Thompson), both of whom we meet through the dreams and memories of Jake and Molly.

Each scene takes us to a different point in time atop the hill, which serves as a significant meeting point for the characters, to discuss life, bowling and marriage - often through monologue.

All the while, the audience is still aware of the quiet figure of Mr. Dyson, who occasionally offers his own insight, which comically evokes the narrative qualities of Rod Serling.

What really set this production apart were the performances of all the actors. The dynamics between Jeff and Dale Peckham, who are a real-life father and daughter are authentic. The two seem to have moments of true father-daughter affection, while they're playful banter and riffing creates the feeling of a genuine relationship at work. Additionally, Dale Peckham's portrayal of Molly effortlessly brings a sense of wisdom to the play that seems to surpass the age of both the actress and the character.

Thompson as the sweet and simple Loretta and Richardson as the witty, matter-of-fact Lois also offer tremendous support to the play's lively, playful and bittersweet feel. Despite the sad and challenging nature of the play, the characters all have something to offer that offsets the tragedy with sharp, bowlingladen humor.

Overall, the combined efforts of Herman and the cast make this production a bittersweet crowd-pleaser of nostalgia, humor and heartbreak.

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