ALPENA — It’s a unique show, because it’s three shows.
For his directorial debut at the Alpena Civic Theatre, Lucas Moquin will present three one-act plays on the theme of love and death. But a funny love/death theme, if you can relate to that.
The evening will begin on February 10 with “A Picnic Scene”, which is about a “stormy picnic of a couple seen and commented on by two curious birds… who seem to get on well”.
“A Picnic Scene” stars Vie Luther as Pek, Hannah Matzke as Tirp, Evelyn Bender as Arin and Romeo Dozier as Jamie. The play was written by Taylor Boes, a friend of Moquin’s in college.
“A picnic scene is more of a contemporary, lighter comedy,” Moquin said.
The second one-act play, “Pyramus and Thisbe”, is a humorous version of a tragic love story similar to “Romeo and Juliet”. Two young lovers are separated by a somewhat lively wall in this play, originally written by the Greek poet Ovid.
“It’s a game within a game,” Moquin explained. “Shakespearian. It’s basically a parody of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. It’s just hysterical…it’s the dumb show to end all dumb shows.
He added that his rendition of “Pyramus and Thisbe” will be “daredevil, in your face, louder, faster, funnier.”
The actors of this presentation are Aribella Murillo in Thisbe, Joey Lanier in Pyramus, Mia Hauff in The Wall, Romeo Dozier in Lion and Jessica Luther in Moonshine.
The third short play may be familiar to some patrons, having premiered five years ago at the Thunder Bay Theater, featuring the exact same actors. “Love Letters” presents a “touching review of a relationship told through the reading of the correspondence exchanged by a couple during their life”.
In “Love Letters”, by AR Gurney, Carol Rundell and David Usher reprise their roles as Melissa and Andy.
“It’s a very moving piece,” Moquin said. “An older couple, they’re both on stage, and they’re reading the love letters they sent each other…It’s going to be a little heartbreaking.”
Customers might be surprised to see a very minimalist set.
“Part of my style is to keep it really simple,” Moquin said, sitting at the edge of a black stage adorned with a park bench and not much else.
He is thrilled to bring these one-act plays to ACT audiences, noting that many of the actors are young, with the youngest being 16.
“We have a lot of new faces on the Alpena Civic Theater stage,” Moquin said. “Me included.”
Moquin performed in numerous shows at the Thunder Bay Theater before it temporarily closed in July 2020 due to fire damage to the nearby John A. Lau Saloon, which was totaled by fire. At the time, Moquin had just taken over the reins of TBT as artistic director.
Bill Powell is the assistant director of these shows.
“I don’t know what I would have done without Bill’s help,” Moquin said. “It’s going to be a really exciting and interesting evening.”
This three-part production will begin just in time for Valentine’s Day. It will take place at 7.30pm on February 10, 11 and 12, and at 2pm on Sunday February 13, then again the following weekend, with the final show at 2pm on Sunday February 20.
Alpena Civic Theater is located at 401 River St. For tickets, call the box office at 989-354-3624.