Section: Arts

Cromer, Zaremsky captivate audience in Greater Tuna

Cromer, Zaremsky captivate audience in Greater Tuna

Emily Stegner, Collegian

By Rebecca Frank

This past weekend, a little part of Texas made its way to Kenyon’s own Hill Theater. Elliot Cromer ’15 and Adam Zaremsky ’15 starred in Brave Potato’s entertaining production of Greater Tuna, a comedy by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard about the shenanigans of residents of the tiny fictional town of Tuna, Texas.

Cromer and Zaremsky, who had performed this show together in high school, were enthusiastic about suggesting the play to the student-run theater organization Brave Potato Productions. “[Cromer and Zaremsky] were so passionate about the idea, and so excited about it, that we knew no matter what else happened … [the show] would be good,” Brave Potato’s Artistic Director Christine Prevas ’15 said.

Greater Tuna lived up to those expectations. Cromer and Zaremsky were equally hilarious in their portrayals of numerous characters: two animated radio hosts, a mom and her children (all three of which were played by Zaremsky), a dog-killing old lady, a pleading human society worker, and more.  With each character, Cromer and Zaremsky took on a new physicality so that each presented a completely different experience for the audience.

Especially delightful was Cromer’s performance as Bertha Bumiller, mother of three. Cromer played a convincing woman, displaying sophisticated mannerisms and seamlessly transitioning from a polite southern mother to the angry wife of a man who drinks too much.

Zaremsky was most noteworthy in his role as Stanley Bumiller, Bertha’s rebellious son. Zaremsky’s portrayal of the defiant young man earned him many laughs. One of his dramatic scenes was the most striking; as Stanley confesses to murdering the town judge, the tension in the small theater was palpable.

The costumes in Greater Tuna were also quite pleasing. Each one seemed carefully chosen to match the character wearing it, and the attention to detail was commendable. For example, as Elmer Watkins, a stereotypical rural Texan, Cromer wore a National Rifle Association hat, and as Phinas Blye, an eccentric politician, Zaremsky donned a disheveled suit. It was impressive how quickly the two actors were able to transition their costumes and characters so that the show ran smoothly.

Zaremsky and Cromer were energetic the entire evening, never faltering in their many characters. Their rapport in the beginning as radio hosts was completely captivating. The actors were clearly comfortable around each other. There was never a dull moment in the show, even when it was necessary for both actors to be backstage changing costumes, old country music played, keeping the audience engaged in the town of Tuna.

With their dedicated physicality and constant energy, Cromer and Zaremsky ensured that the audience was laughing all night long. Zaremsky said he hoped the audience would take away “an appreciation for satire” from the show. Cromer said he hoped the audience viewed the show “with an open mind, an open heart, and a penchant for humor.”  The audience seemed to do just that. Cromer and Zaremsky received a standing ovation Thursday night.

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