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Christmas, Tuna-style

Sandy Actors Theatre presents a deliriously funny holiday comedy
by: photo courtesy of Sandy Actors Theatre Pearl Burras and Dixie Deberry are two of the 22 zany characters Erin Hickman (left) and Patrick Roth (right) play in Sandy Actors Theatre’s production of ‘A Tuna Christmas.’

Twenty-two characters, 37 sometimes gender-bending costume changes and two actors bringing to life the most insane and third smallest town in Texas: Tuna.

'It's a recipe for holiday hijinks and good spirits,' says James Bass, director of 'A Tuna Christmas.'

Sandy Actors Theatre hosts the quirky holiday comedy, which continues through Dec. 18, with SAT veterans Patrick Roth and Erin Hickman starring in the 22 zany roles.

The plot revolves around Tuna's Christmas Yard Display Contest, which Vera Carp has won 14 years in a row. This year, though, a mysterious Christmas phantom threatens to throw off the contest.

Hilarious subplots unfold amid the yuletide festivities, each with equally colorful characters.

Among Tuna's wacky denizens are Arles Struvie, a disc jockey; Inita and Helen, Tasty-Creme waitresses; Dixie Deberry, controller of the Tuna Electric Company; and Stanley Bumiller, an aspiring taxidermist on probation.

'Tuna' is the second comedic play in a series of four written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard. Though the writers intended for two men to play all the characters, SAT has opted to have one male and one female actor.

'I like to do everything different,' Bass says.

For this production, everybody involved in the show, including crew members Elizabeth Rios, Stephanie Rinder, Jesse Guiher, Rachel Hill and Jonathan Stinson, will take a bow, due to its 'sheer complexity.'

'The play is like a choreographed dance where every moment has to be optimized,' Bass says. Roth and Hickman, the actors, call their many costumes the 'third character' of the play. They each have an assistant to help them with costume changes.

'A Tuna Christmas' marks the final SAT performance for Patrick Roth, a Portland Actors Conservatory graduate, who plans to pursue theater closer to Portland.

'I'm working with some of the most talented people I've ever met,' Bass says of the cast and crew.

For more information, call Sandy Actors Theatre at 503-668-6834 or visit its website at www.sandyactorstheatre.org.

If you go

What: Sandy Actors Theatre presents 'A Tuna Christmas.'

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 18, with doors opening 45 minutes before showtime.

Where: Sandy Actors Theatre at 17433 Meinig Ave. behind Ace Hardware .

Tickets: $15 general admission, $12 for seniors and students and $10 for children 12 and younger.

Reservations: 503-668-6834.