Red, White and Tuna: San Jose Stage Company Provides Comedy Fireworks
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The last date listed for Red, White and Tuna was Sunday July 4, 2010 / 2:00pm.
Quotes & Highlights
“Four stars. This is the greatest Tuna of all!” —WRC-TV
In the much anticipated third installment in the Tuna trilogy, co-authors Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard take the audience through another satirical ride into the hearts and minds of the polyester-clad citizens of Texas’ third smallest town.
Along with Tuna’s perennial favorites, some new Tuna denizens burst into the 4th of July Tuna High School Class Reunion. This sets the stage for a show full of fireworks and fun from the third-smallest town in Texas, where the Lion’s Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.
It’s been several years since we left Bertha and Arles dancing at the end of A Tuna Christmas. Did the romance blossom? Has Didi Snavley received any “cosmic” communications from R.R.’s UFO? Did Stanley make his fortune in the Alburquerque taxidermy business? These and other burning questions will be asked and answered in the side-splitting spoof of life in rural America.
The tongue-in-cheek humor that made Red, White and Tuna‘s predecessor _Greater Tuna _so entertaining couldn’t be more up to date. Though originally written and produced more than 20 years ago, our country’s contemporary political shenanigans and the Religious Right have put the basis for this satirical trilogy right back in the headlines of today’s news.
In this latest saga, all the Tuna favorites return as the Prayer Posse led by Vera Carp and Reverend Spikes take on church hymns while Petey Fisk continues his off-beat pleas for a more humane Tuna. The flirtatious Tastee Kreme gals have a food booth at the Reunion serving Aunt Pearl’s prize winning potato salad that may have been in the heat too long. You’ll laugh till it hurts when you find out who the mystery write-in winner of the Homecoming Queen Contest is. Just another day in the life of Tuna, Texas.
Greater Tuna, which debuted in Austin in fall 1981, moved off-Broadway and became the most-produced play in the United States by 1985, running continuously for a record-breaking seven years at the Marines Memorial Theatre in San Francisco.
In 1989, co-writers and original co-stars Joe Sears and Jaston Williams revisited Tuna by way of San Francisco, where A Tuna Christmas premiered. “It opened two weeks after the big earthquake there,” Williams said. “We were worried about presenting it in such a somber milieu. I said, ‘The city is in mourning.’ But we were told, ’They will be ready to laugh again.’ And they were.” San Francisco critics, at least, were happy with the show’s humor, calling it “deliriously funny” and “a comic masterpiece."
In 1998, seventeen years after _Greater Tuna _opened, Red, White and Tuna debuted. Arch Campbell of WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. gave the show four stars and proclaimed, “This is the Greatest Tuna of All!"
Audience members who grew up in small towns easily identify with the characters. Bertha Bumiller, in her 4th of July red, white and blue polyester pantsuit with matching flag earrings, has a unique charm that reminds them of one of their aunts or former next door neighbors. “We have these old-timer members of our family who spoke in a very specific way and had very unusual inflections, which are disappearing from our language,” Williams said. “And we try to keep those alive… I guess people feel the Tuna people are family.”
Indeed, this feeling of family is probably the key element that has made the Tuna trilogy so popular. But don’t underestimate the power of laughter because the laughs are non-stop. And an additional element of success comes from the special friendship between the two actors.
“When you stumble onto someone who thinks like you and enjoys the craft like you, you start to share inner ideas,” Joe Sears says. “I like someone who stimulates me intellectually and Jaston and I hit it off there. That’s why we wanted to work together.”
It’s been a winning combination for over 20 years now.