I enter a packed house at Theatre in the Square in Marietta, GA to see the play A Tuna Christmas. The lights go down and the actors enter stage right. Within seconds, I am no longer in Marietta, Georgia. Instead, I find myself transported magically to the small town of Tuna, TX. Two radio announcers from Tuna greet me and explain the town’s unknown criminal, the Christmas Phantom. As the announcers try to solve the mystery of the Christmas Phantom they willingly share the town’s stories of struggle and joy during the holiday season. Many people can relate to this tale. When we gather at Christmas, the media tells us that we are all supposed to get along and be nothing but happy. HA! Most of us over-schedule this “perfect” time with a calendar full of feasts to be cooked, trees to be trimmed, finding the perfect presents for family and friends, volunteering to help the less fortunate, and let us not forget church functions and the multitude of holiday parties to attend. You are expected to do all this harmoniously and heaven forbid that even a single ounce of frustration seeps onto your face. These sentiments of the holiday season are all reflected as the story of Tuna at Christmas unravels on stage.
I find myself empathizing with the women and men from this little town in Texas. At one moment, I want to console their heartaches and within the next, I am laughing so hard that I have to wipe tears from the corners of my eyes. I sit entranced by the play and the beautiful acting of only two men, Bryan Mercer and William S. Murphey, as they portray the characters on stage with talented realism. There is one intermission during my time at Theatre in the Square. I mingle in and out of the audience and see many different faces with big giant grins as they excitedly laminate their enjoyment about A Tuna Christmas.
I hurry back to take my seat after the break because I do not want to miss the outcome of the Christmas Phantom. The townsfolk walk in and once again I am looking through a porthole at Tuna, TX. The last act comes and hysterical loud laughing echoes throughout the entire crowd which consists of teenagers to the very old. I do not want the play to close because I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and I could hang out in Tuna for days on end. There are not many places, shows, or events that I have attended that appeal or satisfy people from the ages of ninety to sixteen. As my appreciation for the experience mounts, I lift from my seat and see everyone around me doing the same. As a collective group, we give this wonderful play and the excellent actors a standing ovation. Job well done!
To see a schedule for A Tuna Christmas and other plays at Theatre in the Square click HERE. But hurry, these shows sell out fast!