Photo by Megan Pacer/Peninsula Clarion Chris Peppers, left, Delana Green (Duncan) and Rob Ernst joke with each other before a rehearsal for the Triumvirate Theatre's upcoming dinner theatre and auction on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at Mykel's Restaurant in Soldotna, Alaska.

May the fish be with you: Triumvirate actors to parody ‘Star Wars’

Light sabers and fish puns will abound in the latest annual dinner theater and auction put on by the Triumvirate Theatre.

While the two may not sound complementary, the acting group has been putting fishy spins on classic and popular films since the fundraiser began about 12 years ago, according to Joe Rizzo of Triumvirate. This year’s show, “Fish Wars: A Humpy Rises,” will parody both the film and local events and issues. It will play at 6 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, April 1 and April 2 at Mykel’s Restaurant in Soldotna.

A parody of “Star Wars” stood out as an obvious choice because of the franchise’s popularity, as well as the latest addition to the series being recently released, Rizzo said.

“The trickiest part about choosing a fish parody is, can you have a punny title?” Rizzo said. “You have to find a lot of fish parodies to really make the title work, and the title’s kind of important to selling it.”

A $48 ticket will get an attendee a three-course meal at Mykel’s, followed by the parody show before the auction. All funds raised during the event will go to help Triumvirate Theatre operate throughout the year, Rizzo said.

One reason viewers return to the show is consistency, according to Rizzo. Ever since the first dinner theater event, the actors have incorporated a large, stuffed fish named “Wappy,” sometimes as a prop and other times as a major character.

There is also a running joke that a member of the group came up with for the first performance that has been resurrected in every show since.

“And people, like waiting for Hitchcock, they wait for that line,” Rizzo said.

Scripts for the shows are written by Carla Jenness, and pull heavily from the current events and goings on of the local area. Because all of the actors live on the central Kenai Peninsula, it’s not hard to find material the audience will appreciate, Rizzo said.

“Especially if it’s an election year, there’s lots of election stuff that you can throw in there,” he said. “We’re a big part of the community, we live in the community so we’re aware of — when Fred Meyer is doing a remodel … we’re going to mention it somewhere along the line.”

Another fun aspect of the annual dinner theater is that it allows the group to incorporate more of its adult actors, Rizzo said. While Jenness originally writes the parodies, group members all contribute by weighing in on the content throughout the process, said her husband, Chris Jenness.

The first read-through often yields plenty of good brainstorming and ideas to flesh out the material, he said.

“That’s where like the script really sort of comes to life, and everybody starts adding in this idea and that idea,” Jenness said.

The auction portion of the fundraiser is also set to impress, including items such as a train trip to Fairbanks and tickets for local airlines.

“We’re still collecting them,” Chris Jenness said. “We have a lot of local art, but we also have some sort of bigger-ticket items.”

This is the first year the group has expanded to four shows over two weekends, he said. Both he and Rizzo said no one knew when the fundraiser first started that it would be such a hit.

“The interesting thing to me has been to watch all these, you know, middle-aged people be 12-year-old kids again,” Rizzo said.

 

For tickets, visit triumviratetheatre.ticketleap.com.

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com

 

Photo by Megan Pacer/Peninsula Clarion Props ranging from a storm trooper mask to a stuffed fish named “Wappy” cover a table in preparation for a Triumvirate Theatre rehearsal on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at Mykel’s Restaurant in Soldotna, Alaska. The group will perform the latest of its annual dinner theatre and auction events, “Fish Wars: The Humpy Rises,” beginning March 25.

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