Escanaba in Da Moonlight runs Nov. 16-18
Student Life - posted on 11/13/2006
The Lakeland College Theatre welcomes the coming deer season with a production of Jeff Daniels' hilarious comedy "Escanaba in Da Moonlight," Nov. 16, 17 and 18.
Lakeland's annual fall play begins at 8 each evening in the Bradley Fine Arts Building on the Lakeland College campus.
Lakeland is reprising its staging of "Escanaba" after first doing Daniels' work in 2001, in large part because James Crawford, in his 30th year as the director of Lakeland's theatre and a faculty member at the college, is retiring this spring.
"I wanted to do my favorite play and favorite playwright," Crawford said.
"Escanaba" is a clever story about five Yoopers - residents of Michigan's Upper Peninsula - and their escapades at a ramshackle deer camp on the eve of the opening day of the 1989 hunting season.
For nearly three quarters of a century, male members of the Soady family have trekked to their little "home away from home" north of Escanaba to drink, cause a little bit of trouble and bag bucks.
But in the words of patriarch Albert Soady, played by 1989 Lakeland graduate Jeff Rabe who reprises his role from 2001, "Dat year camp was as tense as a moose's butt durin' fly season."
At age 35, Reuben Soady, played by senior Chris Wray, is in danger of becoming the oldest member in the history of the family never to bag a buck. He's known around town as the "Buckless Yooper."
As the fateful dawn approaches, Reuben attempts to change his luck by altering several of the time tested rituals and traditions of Soady deer camp, but only succeeds in fueling a series of strange and unexplainable events causing Remnar, Reuben's overly superstitious brother, played by Dexter Amweg, to remark, "If I didn't know better, I'd say this camp was cursed."
Following a blinding whoosh of light, Jimmer Negamanee, played by Joseph Janisch, who once was abducted and then returned by aliens over the course of a long weekend, arrives at camp after his Impala mysteriously catches fire and drives off without him.
Department of Natural Resources Ranger Treado, played by Laura LeClair, shows up unannounced to inform the Soadys that she has just seen God up on their ridge.
When their playing cards change their numbers right in their hands, Albert's homemade Sweet Sap Whiskey turns to syrup and Reuben is blasted by the same blinding whoosh of light from up high up on Soady Ridge, all hell breaks loose. Armed with only the undying love of his family, Reuben runs up the ridge to face his deepest fear.
Lakeland's production is directed and designed by James M. Crawford. Stage manager is Jason Kopf and house managers are Catherine Huth and Samantha Tonn.
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