Lame Duck squawks on stage

Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chris Jenness has been growing his Joe Miller beard for the past three weeks now.

Photo By Dante Petri
Photo By Dante Petri
Jason Tauriainen, left, playing an emotionally distressed Gov. Sean Parnell, laments to Carla Jenness, playing the role of a moderator, in a political debate between a hodgepodge of Alaskan and national politicians on Monday during a rehearsal for Triumvirate Theater's "Lame Ducks and Dark Horses," at the theater in Soldotna. The political satire is slated to show Friday and Saturday.

"It's looking pretty scraggly," Jenness said. "People are probably wondering if I forgot to shave again."

But that's a sacrifice the freelance graphic designer, Clarion movie reviewer and Triumvirate Theater board member is willing to make for his art. He's playing the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the Triumvirate Theater's political satire "Lame Ducks and Dark Horses" this weekend.

Every political season the theater takes their gloves off to write and perform a sketch comedy show focused on Alaskan officials.

Mostly written by Triumvirate director Joe Rizzo and Carla Jenness, the 90-minute show roasts everybody equally.

"We try to be a little bit biting but not harsh," Jenness said. "We really try to keep it very balanced. We don't want to come across as being one orientation or another."

He said that every year the theater puts on the show people come out of it swearing they can tell the acting troupe is either really conservative or really liberal.

But "we've never had anybody get upset," he said.

Apart from the usual suspects making appearances in the show like Don Young, Lisa Murkowski and of course, Sarah Palin, there's a slew of local newsmakers who will be mentioned.

Josh Ball, who plays Glenn Beck, Levi Johnston and Scott McAdams, said that the whole rehearsal process has been really collaborative with the eight-person cast.

"Everybody is involved in every facet of the game," he said. "It gives us a chance to do SNL-style parody of Alaska's political figures up until the upcoming election."

Ball, a Triumvirate veteran who recently graduated from Arizona State University, gets a kick out of the show himself. He said one of his favorite parts is a rendition of the popular Grease hit "Summer Lovin'" sung by Joe Miller and Sarah Palin.

There's some other musical numbers and even some choreographed back-up dancers to the skits, Ball said.

Carla said she'll be playing Palin this year. She's got her wig ready and she borrows a pair of square eyeglasses from a store in the mall.

"It's just reading the news, this lady - she's just giving us so much material," Carla said.

But that doesn't imply the comedy will be hurtful.

"We're not interested in being mean-spirited," she said. "The joke is the highest value."

So, Palin having a stalker is not going to be mentioned in the show because that's not funny, Carla said.

But "Bristol going on 'Dancing with the Stars'? That's the kind of thing we can play with," she said.

Carla said they try to keep it really local in their show that's oddly taken on a 50's theme this year with its parody songs. And funny enough the age of innocence fits in well with the back to fundamentals Tea Party movement, she said.

With recent news revolving around the general election heating up, the show has plenty of fodder for funny.

Hopefully, Jenness has been getting his handcuffs ready along with his beard.

"Lame Ducks and Dark Horses" plays at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at

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