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Will ‘Iguana’ Cause a Stir?

By Liepa Bračiulytė in A&E

PlayPreview

Clark kicks off its theater season this weekend with a performance that features a Baptist minister who juggles three women, gets in trouble with his church and flees to Mexico as a tour guide.

But theater professor Gene Biby, who plays Lawrence Shannon, the Baptist minister in “The Night of the Iguana,” insists this performance isn’t going to create a stir.

“By today’s standards, it’s not at all controversial,” Biby said. But the professor conceded that when Tennessee Williams wrote the play in 1948, it might’ve been controversial because “it questions humanity’s image of what God is.”

In addition, the play “explores the struggle of trying to find our identity and how we fit into the world,” according to Biby.

Stage Manager Mark Owsley, the director of the show, said depending on your point of view, there can be controversy in just about any play. But this play is probably one of the least controversial plays Clark has done in a long time, he said.

Last fall’s “Curse of the Starving Class,” for example, featured a full-frontal nude scene.

Many of the plays are set in widely different settings. Last spring’s “Spring Awakening” was set in Germany, and it was about the sexual revelations of teens. “Night of the Iguana” is set in Mexico, and it’s “about crazy people,” said Elena Mack, who plays Hannah, one of the women involved with Shannon.

Mack says that all of the plays that are shown at Clark “have this sort of tartness to them.”

“It’s always a toss-up whether I’m going to invite my dad to the plays,” she said. “There’s always something that might make the audience uncomfortable. And it’s always slight, but’s it’s always there.”

Controversy or not, many actors keep returning quarter after quarter, said Mack. “It’s kind of like a little family we’ve built, so there are always people that come back,” she said. “It’s nice to come back to. It’s like you’re not even working.”

“It’s almost a joy to be around these people; they’re so committed to what they’re doing,” said Owsley.

Owsley said he saw a good turnout of student actors for the play this quarter.

Show times are Nov. 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. The performances will be held in Decker Theatre located in the Frost Arts Center. Tickets for the show cost $9 for students or $13 for general admission and can be purchased at the College Bookstore, online athttp://www.clarkbookstore.com/site_theatre.asp or by calling 360-992-2815.

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