ROCHELLE — The Vince Carney Community Theatre will open its latest production, “Tuna Does Vegas,” on Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Arts Center at 108 S. Main St.
The production based on the book by Ed Howard, Jaston Williams and Joe Sears is directed by VCCT’s Renee Page and assistant directed by Johanna Whitaker. It stars just two actors in longtime VCCT performers Terry Dickow and Terry Camplain.
“‘Tuna Does Vegas’ re-unites the lovable and eccentric series characters from the ‘third-smallest town in Texas’ as they take a rambling romp in Sin City. The hilarity begins when oddball-conservative radio host Arles Struvie announces on air that he and his wife Bertha Bumiller are heading to Vegas to renew their wedding vows...but everyone in Tuna, Texas goes along for the ride!”
After the Aug. 5 show, “Tuna Does Vegas” will be performed again Aug. 6 at 7 p.m., Aug. 7 at 2 p.m., Aug. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and on Aug. 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?show=131313.
The trio of Page, Dickow and Camplain has done three other shows from the Tuna series with VCCT in 2000, 2001 and 2013. This is the 22nd production together for Dickow and Camplain.
“These two are magic together and can get each other out of whatever predicament they get into,” Page said. “Their ability to improvise and play off each other is really what makes this show shine.”
The two-actor show creates a lot of unique situations. Dickow and Camplain will play 15-20 different parts including men, women, women playing men and a dog.
A behind-the-scenes crew is in charge of turning the pair into all of the different characters that have to be distinct. The actors walk off stage, have their costumes changed by dressers and are shoved back out onto the stage, even if it’s to read a one-paragraph line.
Camplain said he and Dickow are “very comfortable” on stage together and always know where the other person needs to be. If something gets out of place, they’re usually able to put the show back together on the fly.
“There's a lot of humor to just having two people,” Dickow said. “We've had times where we've come out wearing the wrong things because it didn't get caught backstage. The trick is getting out of that situation. You lose some of that when you're in a play with a bigger cast. A lot of it comes from the costume changes and the mess ups.”
Page said the show will depend a lot on light and sound cues, which is where Whitaker’s skills will come in. The VCCT stage will serve as a hotel, living room, airplane, restaurant, a car and a radio station.
Camplain said it’s his hope that attendees will laugh and get an escape from the hard parts of life for a few hours during the show and walk away with a smile.
“There's no message,” Dickow said. “There's no hidden theme. It's just sight gags and fun. I think this show is going to make people laugh. We've gone through a rough period of time in this world recently and I hope people can come out and laugh and think maybe life isn't as bad as they thought it was.”
The show will be the latest of a handful VCCT has done since moving into the new building. For those in the area that have never been to a VCCT show, Dickow believes “Tuna Does Vegas” would be a good first experience to see what the group is all about.
“You don't have to have seen the previous plays from this series to be able to enjoy this one,” Page said. “It stands alone. We're all longtime members of VCCT. We're sitting here living a dream in this building that we had 30 years ago. We're really excited to be able to put this show on in the new theater and have the room we need to do what we need to do. I think this is really something the town needed and Rochelle is going to come to appreciate it.”