Greater Tuna at the Pelican Playhouse Through September 15

The Pelican Playhouse has made a point to single out its current production as a "PG-rated" play — a lurch toward somewhat adult material for a family-friendly community theater that prides itself on its all-ages productions. The work in question is a caustically funny satire of backward culture that has proven even more prophetic in 30-plus years since it debuted in Austin. Greater Tuna, set in the fictional, tiny town of Tuna, Texas, lampoons the attitudes of its small-minded, gun-toting, race-baiting, porn-censoring residents — all of whom, young and old, male or female, are played by two middle-aged men in an array of elaborate costumes. Each actor plays at least ten characters in this marathon of cultural stereotypes, from drunken ufologists and local Klan leaders to used-gun shop owners and members of the Smut Snatchers of the New Order; one of them will even play a dog. For actor-director Ralph Wakefield and his onstage partner Christopher Chisholm, this production is particularly special — both were signed on to perform Greater Tuna in 1983 but had to bow out for personal reasons, so they've had 30-some years to prepare.


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