Making Politics Funny Again: TOD Opens Season With Timely Politcal Farce

Opening Night is October 14 at COA


Crusty campaign managers. Ex-wives. A dim-witted governor.  Exotic dancers. Self-promoting businessmen. No, they’re not the guests on the latest edition of a cable news political gab-fest. They’re just a few of the crazy characters that populate Lying In State, Theatre of Dare’s opening production of the 2016-17 season.


“There’s no better way to kick off our season in a wacky political year than with a wacky political farce,” says co-director Terry Snead. “Hopefully, this show will be the perfect antidote to all the harsh rhetoric these days on television and in our mailboxes.” The show, written by longtime Washington lobbyist David C. Hyer, takes place in the parlor of a funeral home after an egotistical state senator is killed in what is believed to be a heroic act of self-defense. With the late senator’s popularity skyrocketing, his frantic campaign manager (Don Bridge) begins a mad scramble to name a replacement.


Among the candidates are the senator’s ex-wife Edna (Kat Morgan), his semi-official fiancée and self-described “semi-exotic dancer” Buttons (Betsy Head), his tipsy brother Harry (Chuck Beatty), and the senator’s compliant aide Wally (Jonathan Varillas). Rounding out the cast is the governor (Stuart Parks II) and a loopy visitor with a large bag of prescription medicine (Janet Bryant).


Lying In State is the first of four comedies Theatre of Dare is presenting during its 26th season of entertaining theatregoers on the Outer Banks. “We polled our audiences during a few of last season’s productions, and found out they overwhelmingly wanted funny shows,” says TOD President Don Bridge. “So this season, we decided to give the people exactly what they wanted.”


Next month, the laughs will be a little more bittersweet when the focus turns to family matters in A.R. Gurney’s heartfelt tribute to American middle class life The Dining Room. In February, Monty Python’s madcap medieval musical Spamalot will invade the stage. Finally, next spring, a bachelor lothario has his detailed romantic schedule undone by faster flights in a classic door-slamming farce called Boeing Boeing.


But it all begins with Lying in State and Theatre of Dare’s semi-solemn 2016 campaign promise: to make politics funny again.


Lying In State, co-directed by Lost Colony alumni Terry Snead and Le Hook, takes the stage October 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees on October 16 and 23 at 2 p.m.


Tickets are $11 for adults and $6 for students, and all performances will be held at the COA Auditorium in Manteo.

The cast of Theatre of Dare’s "Lying In State": (L-R) Betsy Head, Jonathan Varillas, Janet Bryant, Stuart Parks, Chuck Beatty, Kat Morgan, and Don Bridge. The politcal farce opens at the COA Auditorium on October 14.

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