MARLENE DESCHLER/SGH
Favorite characters with hilarious personas return in ‘A Tuna Christmas.’ Pictured left to right is Mary Deters as Pearl Burras, Nolie Kapplinger as Dixie Deberry, Sarah Schroeder as Garland Poteet and Sara Kroshus as Inita Goodwin.
MARLENE DESCHLER/SGH Favorite characters with hilarious personas return in ‘A Tuna Christmas.’ Pictured left to right is Mary Deters as Pearl Burras, Nolie Kapplinger as Dixie Deberry, Sarah Schroeder as Garland Poteet and Sara Kroshus as Inita Goodwin.
Last February, they had us rolling on the floor with laughter until we cried.

The Greater Tuna cast is back for the second in the series of plays with, A Tuna Christmas.

This play continues the “affectionate comment on small-town, Southern life and attitudes” with more laughter and satire to be enjoyed!

Audiences will become reacquainted with their favorite Tuna characters plus meet a couple new ones.

A Tuna Christmas is set in the fictional small town of Tuna, Texas.

“The third smallest town in Texas.” Wikipedia explains, “The plot of ‘A Tuna Christmas’ centers on the town’s annual Christmas Yard Display Contest, won 14 times in a row by Vera Carp. A mysterious ‘Christmas Phantom,’ known for vandalizing the yard displays, threatens to throw the contest into turmoil.” This is not all that happens in Tuna, you’ll want to check it out and see all that goes on in this small town!”

“All of our favorite characters are back but now in some different places,” remarked Director Kay Capps Cross. “Different characters meet and interact, and we also get to meet new characters whose names we have heard before, but haven’t met.”

The cast is small, but the characters are many. Each cast member plays multiple parts, making it quite a challenge to remember who they are at each point in the play and their relationship with the other cast member on the stage.

“Having a small cast like this allows us time to sit and talk about the process of the play and the characters in it and go into more depth,” added Cross. “It is my favorite kind of directing.”

The plays were originally written and performed by two men, each playing the many different roles.

The authors understood that not all groups would be able to perform the plays in this way so have given directors the license to adjust roles as needed to work with their cast members.

“It was a fun challenge to switch the gender roles in Greater Tuna. For continuity, we needed to continue in the same manner for this one. I hadn’t looked ahead for plot twists, etc. in the second show when I made the changes in the first one, so it has been a exciting challenge to make it all work,” explained Cross.

The cast began to gather some in late November, but Cross traveled a lot in December for her job and so rehearsals were a bit spotty.

“It has not been the traditional rehearsal period so that is very challenging, but this past week we have all been together so we are seeing things we haven’t seen before which is great! Having fellow cast members watching from the audience’s point-of-view is very helpful as it helps those on stage remember and realize how funny the show really is.”

Cast members are Robin Bartell, Mary Deters, Nolie Kapplinger, Sara Kroshus, Jan Lochner, Bethany Sauer, Sarah Schroeder, and Jen Solberg.

“We have some amazing moments in this show,” added Cross. “It is still politically incorrect, but when we take the crusty shell off the characters, there is real humanity there. The show is an advertisement for ‘ignorance is not stupidity.’ Ignorant really means ‘you don’t know.’ These characters truly just don’t know.”

A Tuna Christmas opens Thursday night, Feb. 8 and runs Friday, Feb. 9 and Saturday, Feb. 10.

There are also two shows the following week, Thursday, Feb. 15 and Friday, Feb. 16. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show is at 7:30 p.m.

All seats are $10 and general admission. They may be purchased in advance at Merchants Bank in Spring Grove or at the door of the show. Each evening, beer and wine will be available for purchase along with snacks.

Ye Olde Opera House is located on Main Street in Spring Grove. Wondering if the show is appropriate for kids or teens? Cross says there is some swearing and some adult themes; it could be rated as TV-MA.