Dinner theater actors pull double duty Some performers cook or serve at church production

April 23, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

Bonnie Kreamer is performing double dinner theater duty tomorrow and Saturday.

First, she is cooking with the dinner crew. Then she has a meaty part in "The Scheme of the Shiftless Drifter."

"This is a play where everything goes wrong," said Ms. Kreamer, who plays a scrubwoman more interested in cleaning the theater than watching "the mixed-up melodrama" unfolding on stage.

When she is not emoting, she will stay in character -- or at least in costume -- while supervising in the kitchen.

Of course, dinner will be perfect, she said, although she may have a little difficulty scurrying around the stove in her cumbersome construction boots.

Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. in the parish hall of St. Mary's Lutheran Church, at Route 97 and Mayberry Road in Silver Run. The curtain rises once the dishes are cleared away.

Members of St. Mary's United Church of Christ and the neighboring St. Mary's Lutheran have cooperated on theatrical productions for 10 years. This year, they are reprising their first show, from 1983. Baker's Plays of Boston provides the script by Carolyn Lane.

Most of the original cast is returning to play sisters Marigold and Petunia Pompington and their stern father, Henry.

The plot revolves around the family and Victor Strongheart, Petunia's doting hero, who spars -- mostly verbally -- with the requisite villain and an on-stage prompter.

Miscues, hidden identities, flimsy falling props and an ubiquitous snowstorm of shredded Styrofoam add to the comedy as a "sweetheart Strongheart" saves his true love's sister from the kidnapper's clutches and wins the family's undying affection.

Plastic foam flakes accentuate every character's entrance and exit. Between acts, members of the cast take up brooms as the director -- Bonnie's husband, Kent Kreamer -- orders, "Sweep up the snow!"

With Petunia spending most of Act II out in the storm, the snowfall is ankle-deep again in no time. Pam Haifley as Petunia walks tearfully from one side of the stage to the other accompanied by snow, tossed from behind the curtain, and her faithful dog, Rover -- Pat Gartrell in a dog suit.

"It's all over!" she cries.

"All over, did you say?" says Ms. Kreamer, rushing in with her scrub bucket at the ready.

"Get out of here," says an irate Petunia. "This is my big scene. I'm supposed to be dying."

Before Victor comes to her rescue, several others spoil Petunia's repeated attempts to die dramatically.

The plot takes a few other twists before winding its way to an idyllic ending. At Tuesday's dress rehearsal, the cast won laughs and applause from a few helpers who shunned the limelight for backstage or kitchen duties.

"And we have seen it several times," said Dot Dutterer.

The two churches split the proceeds of the dinner theater, often as much as $1,200, said Ms. Kreamer.

So far, the scheming drifter is not a sellout. The $13.50 tickets will be available at the door or by calling 848-7293.

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