One year later...

Family play marks Triumvirate anniversary

Posted: Thursday, November 23, 2006


  Performers rehearse a scene from "Over the River" earlier this week. Photo by Jenny Neyman

Performers rehearse a scene from "Over the River" earlier this week.

Photo by Jenny Neyman

Triumvirate Theatre has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. On Dec. 2, they will have been in their own space in the Peninsula Center Mall for a year. On Friday, the organization will open “Over the River and Through the Woods,” by Joe Di Pietro, directed by Jamie and Angie Nelson.

Joe Rizzo, president of the nonprofit organization, co-produced their upcoming show with Carla Jenness.

“The trickiest part for us over the last year has been that it was a real growing year for us — learning how to operate this large of an organization. Before, I mean, we operated on a really tiny budget that has ballooned 10 times,” Rizzo said.

Jenness agreed, adding that having a home has been a challenge and a blessing.

“It was kind of a circle,” she said. “It was because we had to pay the rent that we did more shows. But the more shows we did, the more cool ideas we had.”

It is appropriate that they’ve chosen to showcase “Over the River and Through the Woods.” Not only does the show ring true as they open their doors to the public to help them celebrate their home, but also as families gather for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The thing that I would advise people to do is bring your family with you,” Rizzo said. “It could be a great moment for your family a time that you were all together and came out to the theater and watched this wonderful play, because you won’t find better actors than this cast.”

Besides co-directing, Jamie Nelson plays the role of Nicholas. The play centers on Nicholas’ decision to leave New York and his family for a promotion across the country.

“We saw it back in Omaha, and it’s such a wonderful story with such great characters,” he said. “We really appreciated it even back then — just the family ties, and what it would mean to leave your family. Now that we’ve been in Alaska for four years, and we’ve gone back and visited our families — realized what they mean to us, it hits closer to home than it ever has.”

Allen Auxier, who plays Frank, one of Nicholas’ Italian immigrant grandfathers, said he could sympathize with the difficulty of leaving home, as well.

“I’ve been here in Alaska for close to 30 years, and leaving the family was very traumatic. So there was a parallel to me, too. And I could feel that, understand it in the lines,” he said.

“There is a line of dialogue that runs through the play,” said Chris Jenness, treasurer and graphic designer for the organization.

“It’s ‘tengo familia,’ which sort of sums up the whole play, really, and that’s ‘I have family,’ in Italian. It’s about the joy and tribulation of being part of a family,” he said.

“Over the River and Through the Woods” runs at the Triumvirate Theatre in the Peninsula Center Mall at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 2.

Tickets are available at the Triumvirate Bookstore from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Tickets are $10 for general admission.

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