The Redwood area has a lot of talent, and showcasing that is part of the mission for an entity known as Redwood Area Theatre (RAT). Through its summer performances, the organization provides an opportunity for local thespians to be on the stage performing for the community. Starting this week, the cast and crew of RAT will be taking to the stage to present “Greater Tuna.”

According to Lisa Drafall, director of this year’s RAT production, “Greater Tuna” is a play about small-town life in a rural Texas community known as Tuna. Set in the 1950s in southern America, the play, which was written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard, was originally presented by a two-person cast who perform all of the different roles.

“What we did was change that to include more people,” said Drafall, adding if someone wanted to get involved they got a part. 

Full of satire, the play is intended to make the audience laugh out loud as it portrays a backwards kind of town where the people are just a little bit different, all in an effort to address social issues such as racism.

“The cast of actors we have is doing a great job,” said Drafall.

The local cast and crew is putting together the finishing touches on the play, which is scheduled to be performed July 20, 21, 28 and 29 all at 7 p.m. in the Estebo Performing Arts Center (PAC) in the Redwood Valley schools building in Redwood Falls.

Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance at Connie’s Hallmark in Redwood Falls. Tickets will go on sale each night as well. Pre-sell ticket seating starts prior to each performance beginning at 6:15 p.m., with general seating beginning at 6:30 p.m. There is no reserved seating for the performances.

The cast and crew includes: Dean Martin, Gage Rohne, Deborah Ingle, Katy Eckes, Paris Martin, Gabe Martin, Brandy Ringeisen, Nicole Tersteeg and Abby Gilk. The crew includes: Drafall as director, Eckes as music director, Amos Krause doing the sound, Hunter Taylor as a stage crew member, Karen Boots as costuming coordinator with promotional help and all around amazing support by Connie Martin of Connie’s Hallmark.

Drafall added RAT has decided to perform a musical every other year, but that does not mean music is not part of this year’s production. There are a number of vignettes being presented featuring the talents of those in the play, with live pre-show music performed by a local band called Interlude. Several small presentations are also being performed by the participants in the children’s theater camp.

“We have a lot of great talent in the area, and this is a great way for them to be able to showcase those talents,” Drafall said.

The performance of “Greater Tuna” takes less than two hours, added Drafall.

She recalled watching the play in California a few years ago and laughing out loud. It is her hope that will happen with the audience that comes to watch.

Drafall said she would love additional volunteers to help with the presentation. Those who are interested can contact her via e-mail at ldrafall @redwoodfallsgazette.com.

All are invited to attend the local RAT performances of “Greater Tuna” this month.