So what the heck is “A Tuna Christmas” anyway. For starters, it is a very funny play with two actors portraying all 22 citizens of Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas, where the Lion’s Club is too liberal, and Patsy Cline never dies! It’s 24 hours before Christmas and the delightfully eccentric characters are attempting to cope with seasonal traumas such as a disaster prone little theatre production of “A Christmas Carol,” and a highly competitive yard-decorating contest being sabotaged by a mysterious Christmas phantom who has been vandalizing the displays.
The Yuba Sutter Arts production of “A Tuna Christmas” will be performed at the Burrows Theater, 630 E Street in Marysville. Opening night is Friday November 29 at 7pm. There will be additional performances on November 30, December 6 and 7 at 7pm with matinee performances on December 1 and December 8 starting at 2pm. General admission tickets are $20. Students 18 and under are free with a paid adult admission. Light refreshments and beverages will be available.
“A Tuna Christmas” is the second in a series of comedic plays (preceded by “Greater Tuna” and followed by “Red, White and Tuna” and “Tuna Does Vegas”), each set in the tiny fictional town of Tuna, Texas. Written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard, the plays are at once an affectionate comment on small-town, Southern life and attitudes but also a withering satire of same.
“A Tuna Christmas” stars a powerhouse duo of local testosterone-laden talent, Jeff Graham and Travis Leonard, who will also explore their feminine sides as they portray a gender and age bending array of female as well as male characters both young and old. The production is under the thoughtful direction of the very talented Gail Carter, whose work both on and off local stages has been enjoyed by the community for years.
Jeff Graham has appeared on local stages for longer than he can remember. He relies on his innate acting ability as well as physical humor to engage with audiences. “Heck, sometimes I just walk out on stage and stand up to my full 6’ ‘oh my God! Height’ and people just laugh,” he said.
Travis Leonard has been a regular featured player in both Acting Company productions as well as the Applause! series at Yuba Sutter Arts. Most recently he appeared in the show “Twisted” and brought the house down with his alternative rendition of Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!”
Jeff and Travis will have their hands full as they do split second costume changes in order to portray characters like Didi Snavely, the owner of Didi’s Used Weapons (“If we can’t kill it, it’s immortal”), Stanley Bumiller, an aspiring taxidermist fresh from reform school, Vera Carp, town snob and leader of the Smut-Snatchers of the New Order (“until the Rev. Spikes gets out of prison”), Elmer Watkins, the victim of a tragic flamethrower incident and Pearl Burras, a riveter in Houston during the War (the Japanese “never sank one of [her] ships!”)
A review in the New York Post said, “This play is so funny it could make a racoon laugh affectionately at Davy Crockett […] It’s far too good for just Christmas.”