A program for “Lame Ducks & Dark Horses is photographed in the snow on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

A program for “Lame Ducks & Dark Horses is photographed in the snow on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Triumvirate spotlights the ‘absurdity’ of politics

Lame Ducks Dark Horses” is back

“Lame Ducks & Dark Horses,” the biennial political satire show put on by the Triumvirate Theatre, is back to poke fun at local and national politics in a sketch comedy that features an array of bits and musical parodies.

Triumvirate President Joe Rizzo said “Lame Ducks” is something the theater insists on producing, in spite of pandemics and in spite of fires.

“People get awfully serious about politics when so much of it is just kind of ridiculous,” he said. “It’s good for the community to be able to laugh at some of these issues.”

Following the loss of the organization’s theater in a 2021 fire, the show is being staged at the Soldotna Sports Complex, in the conference rooms adjacent to the hockey rink. The show opened Oct. 28, but there are two more opportunities to catch it this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.

On opening night, despite some issues with the lights, and even as cheers for the Kenai River Brown Bears could be heard through the walls, the Triumvirate performers didn’t miss a beat, ad-libbing quips about the equipment and the situation as they presented a slew of sketches, songs and jokes to laughter and applause.

The show targets both local and national politics, tackling the race between Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka, Donald Trump’s retaining of classified documents, and the resignation of former Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce in equal — good-natured — breaths.

The writing was handled by Rizzo, Carla Jenness and Chris Jenness, each having produced different sketches.

Rizzo said Carla handles several recognizable returning segments, like The Loon Hour, which is always the opening bit, and the Java Girls, where Rizzo, Chris Jenness and Chris Pepper put on wigs and portray teen girls — this time performing TikTok dances.

Rizzo said he handles the parody songs. Variations of several hits like “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys and “One Day More” from “Les Miserables” are featured.

“We don’t really coordinate our writing,” he said. “Sometimes jokes collide, because we both come up with the same thing and it ends up in two different sketches.”

That’s why Pierce shows up in so many of the sketches, he explained.

Writing jokes about public figures in the community and beyond requires a careful balance.

“Our standard has always been to not be mean-spirited,” Rizzo said. “We have to live in the community.”

So the group gives a berth to some “super dicey issues.”

“A lot of times there’s not a clear way to present that and make it funny,” Rizzo said.

Ultimately, the goal is to have some fun while poking some fun. Rizzo said the show isn’t just for political folks, but for “anybody that has a sense of humor about the absurdity of life.”

There are two more opportunities to see “Lame Ducks” before it goes away until 2024. The show will play at the Soldotna Sports Complex on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at triumviratetheatre.org or at the door for $22.

More information about the Triumvirate Theatre can be found at triumviratetheatre.org or on their Facebook page.

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