Greater Tuna parodies tiny Texas towns in Toledo

. November 6, 2015.

I recently heard about a new stage production coming to Toledo. But I heard it in the oddest of places. This is a transcript of a radio show I heard while driving around Southern Texas last week (don’t ask why I was there):

This is radio station OKKK in Tuna, Texas, serving the greater Tuna area at 275 watts, signing on. Good morning Tuna, this is Thurston Wheelis. And here we go with the news… Today we have word of a wonderful show about folks in our neck of the woods that is coming to Toledo, Ohio. Greater Tuna, a stage production about the finest of American citizens, us here residents of Tuna, Texas, will be performed at the Valentine Theater during the first two weekends in November.

As you’re well aware, we here in Tuna have our own way of things. You can’t go a day without seeing church committee member Vera Carp turn her nose up at someone or something, or hearing the jokes out of servers Inita and Helen at the Tastee Kreme Diner. Well, it seems that in 1981 our town was the subject of a play created by Jaston Williams and Joe Sears. That play, Greater Tuna, has been shown around the country ever since, as you can no doubt believe. The play has become well known for having over twenty different roles played by only two actors over the course of each performance. That means it takes a heck of a talent to pull this play off.

Time now for a station break to mention Didi’s Used Weapons, a proud sponsor of OKKK radio. As she always says, “If Didi can’t kill it, it’s immortal”.

Now back to the play.

The Good People of Tuna

For the Toledo performance, the people of our fair city will be portrayed by Paul Causman and Ryan Zarecki. Causman has had some experience with Greater Tuna in the past.

“I’ve actually been in three productions of Tuna previously, but I played the other set of roles that Ryan Zarecki is playing in this production,” said Causman. This means Causman will have stepped into the shoes of every resident in Tuna, which cannot be good for a man’s psyche, as anyone who knows resident UFOlogist R.R. Snavely can attest.

Mr. Zarecki has had his hand in a lot of popular past Valentine Theater productions, saying “My wife, Katie, and I have worked on several productions…including Evil Dead: The Musical and Forever Plaid,” both wonderful shows in their own right.

Wrangling these two actors together is director James Norman, who picked Paul and Ryan due to their previous work. “I have directed many shows for the Valentine including Evil Dead: The Musical; Forever Plaid; The Thing About Men; I Love you, You're Perfect, Now Change and wanted to work with Paul and Ryan again.” Maybe Joe Bob at the Tuna Little Theater could take notes from Mr. Norman to get My Fair Lady up and running again.

Signing off

To end today’s broadcast, here’s an atta-boy sent to some of the favorite residents of our town, as selected by the Greater Tuna actors. Mr. Causman had some surprisingly lovely words about yours truly: “I really like Thurston because he’s genuinely a nice guy who is honestly interested in the people of Tuna, Texas.” Could not have said it better myself.

Mr. Zarecki discussed his enjoyment of a Greater Tuna Humane Society member. “I would say Petey Fisk was one of the easiest to slip into. He's such a manic, bleeding heart, do-gooder and I try (and sometimes fail) to be a good guy too so I feel for him.”

Well, that’s it for today’s Art report. Thanks for tuning in. If you know anyone in the Toledo area, tell them to get their tickets for Greater Tuna today. This is Thurston Wheelis, signing off.

Greater Tuna | November 6-15, 8pm, Fridays and Saturdays. 2pm, Sundays | $20| Valentine Theater, 410 Adams St. | 419-242-2787 | valentinetheatre.com