by Nancy Holley
Special KRL coupon code at the end of this article.
The play opening at the Ice House Theatre on September 20 has an intriguing title: Four Weddings and an Elvis. One might chuckle a bit at its absurdity, and its content does not disappoint. Filled with wacky characters and surprising twists, laughs abound from beginning to end.
The setting is a theme wedding chapel in Las Vegas. Given the play’s title, the major theme is obvious. “Elvis” performs the ceremonies under various conditions that can raise or lower the cost of the wedding. Circumstances become complicated when the original “Elvis” gets drunk and a substitute is hired.
The focus is the reasons people decide to get married which frequently have nothing to do with relationships or the desire to spend the rest of their lives together: Bev and Stan are trying to make their ex-partners jealous; Vanessa and Bryce need a marketing ploy to bolster their fading careers; and Fiona and Marvin are…Well, you decide.
Director Caitlin Hill cast many newcomers to the Ice House stage and is very excited about the fresh talent they include. In her directing debut, Hill is ably supported by Assistant Director Tonya Rousseau. Hill commented, “This has definitely been a team effort. It’s fun to bring a light-hearted show to the stage.”
Jen Masters, who portrays Sandy the wedding chapel owner, learned about the auditions on the Visalia Players’ Facebook page and was interested, but hesitant. She related, “The thirteen-year-old daughter of my friend encouraged me saying, ‘just audition because it’s fun!’ She was right!” Masters identified Sandy as “a romantic at heart. Life has made her jaded, but she still wants true romance.”
Forcing himself to audition, Isaac Hernandez (Stan) fulfilled a long-time desire. When asked about his character, Hernandez explained, “He’s not a very good guy. He’s selfish. They flew 2500 miles to get married, and he just wants to make his ex-wife jealous.” The good news is that Bev (Robin Hammond) eventually connects with John (Garren Adams), who owns the chapel next door. Relationships can be complicated!
Two really married couples appear in the show. The roles for one might be considered conventional; the other – not so much! Debra and Rob Hansen are Vanessa and Bryce, the aging actors who need to make their way to the front page of something even if it is only a grocery-store tabloid.
Kristyne and Levi Maurieio are Fiona and Fist – convicts. Fiona is an ex-con trying to turn her life around by marrying Marvin (Robert Meier), a mailman. Fiona and Marvin met on-line and became pen pals. As Meier says, “Marvin was attracted to her because her screen name was Zipitbitch. He thought she might be interested in the postal code and that would be something they could talk about.” Fist has escaped from prison to prevent their marriage. How will this end?
Jason Price is having a wonderful time as Lou, a 70-year-old Elvis impersonator, who sounds much younger on the phone. “Friends pressured me in to auditioning, but I’m really glad they did. This is going to be a very entertaining show.”
The actors indicated why they love Four Weddings and an Elvis and why audiences will as well. These comments are typical. Price said, “The ridiculousness of it is great.” Masters explained, “Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. You’ll see a bit of yourself in some of the characters.” Adams added, “I love the witty one-liners.” But summing it up was Kristyne with, “If you like weddings, washed-up celebrities, ex-convicts, and Elvis, you should see this show.”
Four Weddings and an Elvis opens at the Ice House Theatre at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 20, 2019, and runs for three weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 9/20, 9/21, 9/27, 9/28, 10/4, and 10/5, and matinees at 2 p.m. on 9/22, 9/29, and 10/6.
For more information about the Visalia Community Players and to purchase tickets, check out their website and KRL’s article about VCP. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 734-3900. For details about local arts groups in Tulare County, visit the Visalia Arts Consortium website.
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To purchase two tickets for the price of one, enter KRLFWE in the Have a code? box on the Buy/Redeem Tickets Reservation page via the Players website.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can check the podcast out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play, and also on podbean.