HANFORD — We’ve all been in situations where we’ve asked ourselves, “Do I stay or do I go?” The Kings Players’ newest play shows that the answer may not be our own to answer — it may be up to our grandparents.
In “Over the River and Through the Woods,” which opens Friday, May 17, the four grandparents of Nick Cristano (played by Richard Garibay), scheme up a way to stop the young man from moving across the country — away from them.
“There’s that tug and pull that always happens with families. I know it happened in mine and I’m sure for a lot of our audience members, they will remember those times when they were young and as they’ve gotten older, the situation goes the other direction,” director Louella Moreland said.
Grandparents Frank and Aida (played by Bruce Rakick and Debbie Walker, respectively) and Nunzio and Emma (played by Joseph Katz and Jeanne Ball) scheme up a way to stop their darling grandson from moving from the New York area to the West Coast by finding him a wife.
It’s a Mr. Furley play conjured from the pages of “Three’s Company,” but Moreland said that there’s much more to the play than just “frivolous” comedy. The story has heart, giving each of the actors something to sink their teeth into, she said.
“It has parts where you’re laughing so hard and other parts where you’re close to tears,” Moreland said. “It just is a well-balanced show all around.”
Petra Carter plays Nick’s arranged love interest, Caitlyn. Though, with Nick’s impending move and his grandparents constantly embarrassing him, there’s no telling if the relationship will get off the ground or not.
“I have an amazing cast and I mean amazing,” Moreland said.
Moreland played one of the grandmothers years ago while she lived in Illinois and wanted to bring the show it to the stage of the Temple Theatre.
“There were things, even when I did it before, that I thought could be done a little differently,” she said. “Every director brings something they see to that show or that they want to highlight more.”
The show features witty, quick banter between the cast members, but is also visually appealing, which fast costume changes and regular lighting cues that signify changes between the real-time scene and the hindsight monologues.
The cast is split between Kings Players regulars and newcomers who have previously acted at the Tulare Encore Theater.
“We’re getting noticed by other people outside of just the core group we have here. To me, that’s very exciting as a board member, as well as a director, that our reputation is starting to precede us.”
The show runs through June 9. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, call 559-582-7241 or visit www.kinsplayers.org.