Melodrama returns to Dayton with bootlegger spoof
The Misfits Theater Group of Dayton returns to the stage at Odeon Hall the next two weekends.
The group’s second production “The Unspeakables, or Tea Time in Dayton” is a Roaring ’20s melodrama featuring true-blue lawmen opposing villainous illegal-liquor sellers. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. in the ballroom above Mia’s Swiss Restaurant in Old Dayton.
Many familiar faces from the group’s first melodrama, “The Love Child, or Mysteries of Cosmic Awareness,” which played in July, have returned – some with new faces.
“Some who did one kind of a role in the last play are doing something different,” said writer, director and Misfits founder Tony Thornburg.
For instance, Mark Gryzbek, who played the villain in “The Love Child,” will return as handsome hero Elliot Pest in “The Unspeakables.” Karen Brinkoetter, who assisted the villain in July, takes on the role of the innocent heroine, Blossom Rose, in “The Unspeakables.”
“The Unspeakables” features a female villain, which is a twist on the melodrama formula.
“I wrote it for my daughter. She wanted to be the villain,” Thornburg said. “I thought how much fun it would be to write one with the villain as a female lead.”
In this Dayton-version production, villain Thistle Rose is played by Gail Gunderson.
Local musician Smokey Vanous has written an original score for the “The Unspeakables.”
Thornburg enjoys writing with characters and settings that reflect the Dayton community.
Big Mia was named after the owner of Mia’s Swiss Restaurant, if not modeled after her.
“Mia’s a little bitty gal, so the character of Big Mia is a joke in itself,” Thornburg said.
The melodrama is set at the Odeon Hall Tea House, which is actually a front for the sale of illegal alcohol.
Big Mama, played by Andra Woolman, operates the Tea House while her daughter, Thistle Rose, dispenses liquor and sinisterness.
As Big Mama and Thistle try to keep Blossom, Thistle’s sister, in the dark about the true nature of the business, Blossom crusades against illegal alcohol by forming the Sisterhood for Liquor Use Termination Society, or S.L.U.T.S.
The local authorities bring in Pest to fight the illegal activity. He forms the Unspeakables to raid the haunts of the bootleggers.
Ultimately, everything turns out right for the good guys – just as it should in a good melodrama. Elliot and Blossom fall in love, Thistle is ousted, and Odeon Hall really does serve tea.
Contact Sally Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1210.
if you go
What: “The Unspeakables, or Tea Time in Dayton,” a Roaring ’20s melodrama by Dayton’s Misfits
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Nov. 19, 20
Where: Historic Odeon Hall, upstairs at Mia’s Swiss Restaurant in Dayton
Tickets: $8, available at Mia’s, Connie’s Copy Place or call 246-9622
• Mark Gryzbek – Elliot Pest
• Karen Brinkoetter – Blossom Bright
• Gail Gunderson – Thistle Rose
• Andra Woolman – Big Mama
• Robyn Mazy – Margaret Hightower
• Gene Anderley – Francis McSnarl
• Jan Duke – Maudie
• Dan Rice – Cornelius, an Unspeakable officer
• Christopher Miles – Clarence, an Unspeakable officer
• Lykira Butterfield – Florence Fussyfeathers
• Jeremy Woolman – Newspaper boy
• Chris Kristain – Gentleman George – Narrator
• Sandy Mark – Girley Temple, the card girl
• Smokey Vanous – guitar
• Mary Lierman – piano
• Tony Thornburg – tuba, author, director