Talk-like-a-pirate play

By Karen Cassidy

Icarus Falling set to sail comedic seas with ’Whappin’ Warf’

Remember how Bugs Bunny used to make you laugh as a kid? Whether it was the funny way he narrowly escaped dimwitted hunter Elmer Fudd or the shenanigans he pulled confronting temperamental rival Daffy Duck, there was something timeless about the comedy executed in those cartoons.

Icarus Falling Theatre Ensemble member Robin Harris compares the humor of the company’s latest production, “Wappin’ Wharf: A Frightfully Comic Pirate Tale,” to the comedy of his favorite old cartoons.
He describes the storyline as following a classic protagonist/antagonist theme, but says the laughs set this show apart. Harris says the comedy comes from characters being mean to each other. “It sounds horrible, but that’s what people laugh at, and it’s what we think is funny,” Harris says. “When all people are flawed and making fun of each other, that’s what makes a comedy.”

Director Jeff Croff found the 19th Century play by Charles S. Brookes on Project Guttenberg, a library of free e-books. Croff was particularly taken by the amount of detail and humor Brookes’ put into the script that the audience wouldn’t normally see. He created a narrator to bring some of this comedy to the forefront.

Despite the unfamiliar title, Croff says the family-friendly show has been generating a lot of interest on Icarus Falling’s Facebook page and from people around town. “It’s a little fun and really silly — perfect for the middle of winter,” Croff says.

Croff said one challenge with this production is that it is extremely prop-heavy. Actors had to learn to perform with wooden legs, pirate hooks and, of course, the infamous eye patch.

“It never would’ve occurred to me how much you have to adjust to only having one eye, because you really miss a lot,” says Harris, who plays a pirate who has been given the name Patch. “Several times we are supposed to get visual cues, but I miss them because I can’t see the person right in front of me. Now our visual prompts have verbal prompts, too, like a cough.”

But the artistic payoff is worth the struggle. “Once you put on an eye patch, you can’t help but to talk like a pirate,” Harris says.

‘Wappin’ Wharf: A Frightfully Comic Pirate Tale’

March 15 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday 2 p.m. Sunday Icarus Falling Theatre
Ensemble R.E. Olds Anderson Rotary Barn, Woldumar Nature Center, 5739
Old Lansing Road, Lansing.

$10/$5 (517) 898-1679

Potty humor

What’s worse, a greedy monopoly controlling scarce resources for outrageous profits, or an angry mob determined to do whatever they want, whenever they want? Those are some of the questions Holt Dimondale Community Players will pose when it opens its production of “Urinetown” this week.

With music and lyrics by Mark Hollman and book and lyrics by Greg Kotis, the musical satire follows the story of a fictional town so short on water, all bathroom breaks are regulated by the government and must be paid for until one pissed-off resident decides he’s had enough and leads a rebellion.

March 5-14. 7 p.m. Thursday- Saturday. Holt Jr. High School, 1784 Aurelius Road, Holt. $10/$8. (517) 694- 3411.