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Two "Tuna" Plays Presented by The Empty Space Players

Released: 10/16/2008

“Tuna” times two … 2-for-1 “Tuna” … “Tuna” twice. It might sound fishy, but if you’re a fan of the popular “Tuna” series of plays The Empty Space Players from LSU at Alexandria have a couple of “Tuna” dishes ready to serve.

“A Tuna Christmas” and “Greater Tuna” will be performed 21 times over 12 show dates, some as single performances and nine times as "double features," on the Hearn Stage at Kress Theatre in Alexandria. Ticket prices are $5 for LSUA students, $9 for other students and seniors 65 and over, and $12 for the general public for each show. Reservations are encouraged by calling 473-6573, and tickets will be sold at the door if seating is available.

Single performances, which begin at 7:30 p.m., of “A Tuna Christmas” will be held Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, and “Greater Tuna” will be performed Nov. 13. Both plays will be performed on Oct. 31-Nov. 2, Nov. 7-9, and Nov. 14-15. “A Tuna Christmas” will be performed twice on Nov. 16. Start times are 2:30 p.m. for the double-feature Sunday matinees and 7:30 p.m. for all other dates.

Richard Gwartney, associate professor of theatre and communication studies and an acclaimed veteran “Tuna” performer, and Kody Walker, a sophomore theatre student from Dry Prong, are the leads in the two-man show. They will portray more than 20 eccentric characters of both genders and a range of ages.

Both plays present life in the fictional town of Tuna, Tex., the third-smallest town in the state, where the Lions Club is seen as too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies. Small-town Southern life is offered with affinity and hilarious satire, often at the microphones of radio station OKKK. “A Tuna Christmas,” written in 1989 seven years after “Greater Tuna,” centers around the annual Christmas yard display contest and a mysterious rash of vandalism.

Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard wrote the three plays in the “Tuna” series. The idea sprang from a parody skit at a party.

Dr. Rhonda Shook, director of theatre and assistant professor of communication studies and theatre, will direct “A Tuna Christmas,” and Gwartney is director of “Greater Tuna.”