Playing for laughs: Reading theater group presents ‘Farce of Nature’

READING -- The Wilburns' fishing lodge will house a gangster, a fugitive and a number of other interesting characters -- all in one weekend. The lodge is the setting for "The Farce of Nature," a comedy presented by the Reading Community Players A...

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The Reading Community Players take the stage during a recent rehearsal of "Farce of Nature." TIM MIDDAGH/ DAILY GLOBE

READING - The Wilburns’ fishing lodge will house a gangster, a fugitive and a number of other interesting characters - all in one weekend.
The lodge is the setting for “The Farce of Nature,” a comedy presented by the Reading Community Players April 8-9 and April 15-16 at the Reading Community Center. Doors will open for the group’s 16th production at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be catered by Lakefield’s Hi-Lo Club, and the performance will start at 7 p.m.
The nine cast members will run through a tunnel under the stage and change costumes while the audience watches the drama slowly unfold on stage.
The play takes place in a family’s lodge in Arkansas that has succumbed to financial difficulties. Its owners, D Gene and Wanelle Wilburn, try to save the establishment and hire a real estate agent.
At the same time, the Witness Protection Program relocates Carmine DeLuca, played by Worthingtonian Chip Peters, to the lodge to safeguard him from a gang. D Gene’s sister, Maxie Wilburn Suggs, decides to protect Carmine the weekend he checks in, trying to prove to the local police force that she’s worthy of being an officer again.
“Those two really feed off of each other well. It’s hilarious how she tries to protect this guy in the wilderness, and he thinks he’s going to be killed out there,” said Sandy Wood, director of the play.

The Wilburns employ their son’s girlfriend, Jenna Sealy, at the lodge. In the early scenes of the play, she is frustrated that her boyfriend, Ty Wilburn, works in another state, so she plans to “date” another man when Ty comes to visit.
When he visits the lodge, Ty brings even more trouble. His boss, Lola Barbosa, played by Linda Kingery, follows Ty to make him fall in love with her.
Subsequently, her husband, Sonny, follows Lola to see if she is cheating on him and finds the man his gang is looking for.
The onstage chemistry between the actors makes the show even better, Wood said, and some of them have been building that chemistry for many years.
“I don’t think they realize what they are doing,” she said. “They are so comfortable with each other that it works well.”
Jenna is played by the Reading Community Players’ youngest member, Mikaela Dierks. This is her first play in Reading.
“Mikaela fits in well and seems to be enjoying herself,” Wood said.
The cast members worked very hard on the play and were extremely dedicated, she added.
“I admire them for how they commit the time it takes for the performance,” Wood said, adding that many are farmers and can only practice when they can’t farm because of bad weather.
A bus has been arranged to transport attendees from the Worthington area to the April 8 performance. It will leave at 5:15 p.m. from the Travelodge, 2015 N. Humiston Ave., and return following the show.
To reserve tickets for all performances and arrange for the April 8 bus transportation, contact Bruce Brunk, 370-3341, or (507)478-4229.

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