by Claire DeMarco
Small town Popcorn Falls starts to decline when its famous water fall goes dry. It faces bankruptcy and the neighboring town plans to build a sewage treatment plant there.
Note: Holy Crap! Will the town’s name be changed to Popcorn Fall-less?
Doom and gloom. What to do?
Only one possible solution exists in an attempt to save the town. An arts grant is available that if executed could provide the town with the money needed to pay its debts and stop the sewage treatment plant’s construction.
There is one major problem – actually two! The town of Popcorn Falls must create a play and present it in a theater within one week and no one has a clue on how to do that. And there is no theater!
Actor 1 (Patrick Brannan) and Actor 2 (Kauleen Cloutier) play a combination of 20 characters who are all involved in various aspects of saving Popcorn Falls. Distinguishing the various characters is often accomplished through the use of small adjustments by each actor. A flannel shirt tied around the waist is an apron. A sweater cradled in one’s arms becomes a cat.
Actor 1 is the new Mayor Trundle, leading the charge to write “the play” and help save the town. He also briefly plays a pompous German immigrant.
Actor 2 plays most of the roles from Joe the Janitor whose wife is expecting their 3rd set of twins to gentle Becky, local bartender/waitress.
The town holds auditions for a play that hasn’t even been written but the townspeople carry on.
Cloutier is amazing! As Actor 2 she plays both male and female parts, changing her cadence, mannerisms, vocal deliveries and physical movements easily. She transforms from a deep-voiced male into a silly, self-absorbed young girl auditioning for a part in “the play” into the town’s librarian with ease, adjusting each unique accent and delivery seamlessly.
Although Brannan has fewer roles, Mayor Trundle is the dominant one. He develops Trundle from a new mayor who’s come to town with some trepidation and becomes the leader intent on trying to save Popcorn Falls. He shows a gentle side in his interaction with Becky in what is one of the more serious conversations in the play.
The set is minimal with several chairs and a small box-like table that serves as a desk or a bar front. A green chalkboard is updated during the performance by the actors to indicate where the action takes place.
The plot for “Popcorn Falls” is far-fetched and unrealistic but it’s supposed to be. It is a silly, funny and laugh-filled production that spotlights two very talented actors.
Excellent direction by Dana Hardy.
“Popcorn Falls” is a production of Little Lake Theatre Company. It runs from April 6 through April 16. For more information, click here.