You're casting characters for a stage comedy. A disgruntled wife? Of course. A school cafeteria manager? Fine. A professional who's never been comfortable sharing the same name with a famous film star? Get him in. A potential abortion clinic bomber?
Are you nuts?
That, however, is the quartet playwright Eric Pfeffinger has reassembled for a high school reunion in his comedy Hunting High or Glory Hallelujah!, which Deep Dish Theater is helping to develop with a workshop production this week.
"Eric's a very funny guy with big ideas on his mind," says artistic director Paul Frellick about Pfeffinger, with whom he worked during his Chicago years. "The play grapples with the nature of fanaticism—one character basically goes to war with God. Generally, people don't take these kinds of topics on, but with the comic gifts Eric has, it's an interesting stew."
And the stew will still be cooking through the play's one-week developmental run. Since Pfeffinger will be on site, making changes to the script and working with Frellick and his actors each day through Sunday, don't be surprised to see actors Ashlea Barnett, Tim Corbett, Anne-Caitlin Donohue and Eric Swenson on stage with scripts in hand and flexible production values. Each night after the show, audience members are invited to get in on the act by troubleshooting the work they've just seen—and return the next day to see the changes made.
Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12. —Byron Woods