Luau for King Lear

Emelia Hodges, left, loses her director’s headset to Jessica Hansen while Kimberly Ekes looks on in “Luau for King Lear.”

Bringing together a band of misfits isn’t easy, but it can make for some hilarious circumstances.

This is the case in Oskaloosa Community Theatre’s production of “Luau for King Lear” by Pat Cook.

Director Jim North said OCT decided on this production after doing “Barbecuing Hamlet,” also written by Cook, in 2009.

Finding the right local acting talent for this production was done with age in mind, said North.

“This play actually calls for a wide range of actors,” explained North. “When I auditioned for the play, I tried to make sure that the people who were auditioning for the parts were actually in the age range of that part.”

“Luau for King Lear” centers around a fictional troupe of actors known as the Peaceful Glen Memorial Players trying to save their playhouse by performing William Shakespere’s classic “King Lear.” However, when forced to implement a Hawaiian theme throughout their production, things go awry.

North said “Luau for King Lear” finds much of its humor in having a real life community theater troupe portray a group of actors who often have no idea what acting is all about.

“We’re professional amateurs,” joked North while discussing the OCT actors’ ability to spoof community theater.

Those attending any of the production’s three performances will note a huge difference between the sets and costumes in the first and second acts. North said this was done to illustrate a few key elements of the production.

“It’s going to be colorful to contrast with the drabness and the anger and all the frustration that was going on in the first act,” said North when comparing the first and second acts.

This OCT production had its challenges for North and his cast. Over much of the six-week rehearsal period leading up to this week’s performances, North said they weren’t always able to have every actor present.

“People have lives outside of community theater,” said North at Tuesday night’s rehearsal. “When I put the (rehearsal) calendar together, I knew there was going to be one person gone every single night. But, now it’s looking great.”

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Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com

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