Theater plans season of entertainment

Posted: Thursday, December 01, 2005

Triumvirate Theatre in Soldotna is looking forward to looking back.

The Alaska Children’s Institute for the Performing Arts is excited to hold its first show in its new home — the theater in the Peninsula Center Mall. The show, to be performed this weekend, is the nostalgic “Dandelion Wine” by Ray Bradbury.

“It’s just a little different, which I think is cool,” said director Carla Jenness. “It’s really all about mood. Mood and nostalgia.”

The show is an appropriate one, since organizers of the newly opened theater anticipate being able to look back in nostalgia on the first show staged in their new home many years from now.

The show also should strike a chord with Kenai Peninsula audiences, since it is a look at life in a small town, albeit many years before 2005.

“Anybody who is kind of nostalgic for what they think of as the good ol’ days are going to like this,” Jenness said.

The play relates an eventful summer in a boy’s life. The summer of 1928 was a notable one for 12-year-old Douglas, filled with the magical pleasure of getting new tennis shoes, mellow moments watching Grandpa make the summer batch of dandelion wine, and even a terrifying episode of a killer lose in town.

Jenness said the play is an adaptation from Bradbury’s book and is presented in episodes with narration tying them together. The format and feel of the show tends more toward poetry than a linear storyline, but Jenness said it’s been fun to do a show that’s a little different.

“I’ve loved the book since I was in middle school,” she said. “I had this cast in front of me. I though if ever I was going to be able to do this kind of high-level literature thing I should probably do it now.”

Jenness said the actors are doing well setting the moods in the piece — from funny to sad, wistful and even frightening.

“It’s going really well,” she said. “The kids seem to understand that it’s more about mood and atmosphere and language than it is about a traditional story like we’re used to.”

“Dandelion Wine” will be performed at 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, in conjunction with the Triumvirate Theatre’s grand opening from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Upcoming shows planned for the theater include: “A Christmas Carol” Dec. 15-17 and Dec. 22-23; “Baranov’s Castle,” a puppet show extravaganza, Jan. 12-14 and Jan. 19-21; “An Evening With Dave Barry” featuring humorous adaptations of the syndicated columnist’s work; a new play written by Carla Jenness to be performed during the Arctic Winter Games; a play contest for elementary and middle school children in April; and “Barefoot in the Park,” a comedy by Neil Simon, to be performed in June.

For more information, view the theater’s Web site,

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