Sunday, March 11, 2012

Slocum House Closes its Doors with the Final Production of "Greater Tuna"

Tim Klein and Mark Osborn sign off from KKKO radio at 
their final performance of "Greater Tuna" at Slocum House 
Theater.                              Photo by Gregory E. Zschomler

Today I attended an historic event: the last showing of the last show by Slocum House Theater at the historic Slocum House. Sadly, after 43 years the theater is closing its doors.

A number of factors contributed to the closure. The theater was struggling financially when the city of Vancouver—who owns the building—cold-heartedly decided to raise their rent (while, BTW, giving themselves raises) from a few hundred dollars a month to thousands. A definite actions-speak-louder-than-words—blow to the arts.

Theater at the Slocum House will be greatly missed. Thank you all those dedicated and talented actors, stage hands, designers, and directors that have helped to entertain us over the past four decades!

The Show

I’d heard of “Greater Tuna” for years, but never had the chance to see it. This was my opportunity. The audience genuinely enjoyed the production—a piece written for two actors that play numerous characters from the small town of Tuna, Texas.

The show, written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, was directed by long time Slocum House board member and entertainer, Jim Fully. (Incidentally, Fully met and married his wife at the theater.)

The parts (both male and female) were all played with great ability by Tim Klein and Mark Osborn. Billed as a comedy, the show provided plenty of laughs for the audience but also had its darker moments. The term “black comedy” comes to mind.

The show was humorous and entertaining, but I would not rank it as a great work even though it has been playing to rave reviews. This opinion does not in any way slight Klein and Osborn who performed marvelously. It takes quite a bit of talent to play multiple characters at the (quick) change of a costume.

And so, with the thought of change in mind, I salute the Slocum House community of artists and supporters who have made us laugh and cry and think these many years. I wish them well in their new theatrical endeavors and hope to see a soon transformation. Break a leg!

Story and photo by Gregory E. Zschomler

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