Whether you are a fan of deer hunting or not, you’ll enjoy the Soady clan in Jeff Daniels’ “Escanaba in da Moonlight.” Opening Jan. 25 and running through Feb. 3 at Buck Creek Playhouse, 11150 Southeastern Ave., Indianapolis, you can join the fun and hilarity without the long drive up north.
The story is narrated by Albert Soady, the patriarch, played by Ken Ganza. His two sons join him at the Soady Deer Camp, located “north of the Mackinaw Bridge and just south of heaven.” It’s just the guys here, doing what guys do at the start of hunting season.
Beer, whiskey, cards … the essentials.
Albert’s oldest son, Rueben, played by Joe Siefker, is a dim hunter slouching into middle age, ostracized by the men in his family and the children of the town of Escanaba for his annual inability to bag a buck. Rueben joins his father, his brother Remnar, played by Stefan U.G. LeBlanc, and eccentric family friend Jimmer Negamany from Menominee, played by Tim Staggs, at the Soady deer camp for their yearly, alcohol-soaked ritual of tall tales and one-upmanship.
Albert says of his younger son, “Remnar turned out to be pretty much what you’d expect from somebody who went by the name of Remnar.”
Remnar is wildly enthusiastic about hunting season.
“It’s like Christmas, with guns!” he proclaims.
Jimmer was once abducted by aliens and spent a weekend in “shpashe.” Rueben has a bigger problem since he has never shot a buck, and is ridiculed by the entire population of the town of Escanaba. He hopes that this year he will break the curse and bring home a trophy buck with the help of his Ojibwa wife, Wolf Moon Dance, played by Cerissa Marsh.
Otherworldly forces conspire to keep the Soady men from achieving their goals.
However, soon after they set up camp, they’re plagued by blinding lights and hallucinogenic visions, imparted to them – presumably – by UFOs. When Ranger Tom of the Dept. of Natural Resources (Dennis Karr) arrives on their doorstep, the Soadys know that their evening is about to become stranger still, and Rueben’s hopes of living down his reputation as “Da Buckless Yooper” are all but dashed.
John D. Carver makes his return to direct for Buck Creek Players after last appearing on the stage as Nick in “A Little Christmas Spirit” in December. He also has previously directed “Bus Stop” for the playhouse in the fall of 2011.
For more information or directions to the playhouse, visit www.buckcreekplayers.com.
Who: Buck Creek Players
What: “Escanaba in da Moonlight,” a comedy by Jeff Daniels
Where: Buck Creek Playhouse, 11150 Southeastern Ave., Indianapolis
Director: John D. Carver
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 25 and 26 and Feb. 1 and 2, and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 27 and Feb. 3.
Cost: $15 for adults, and $13 for students and senior citizens. Group discounts are also available for parties of ten or more.
Tickets: To reserve seats call 862-2270 or pay online at www.buckcreekplayers.com.
Age: This production is recommended for audiences ages 13 and older.
Jeff Daniels was born in Athens, Ga., but was raised in Chelsea, Mich., where his father Robert owns The Chelsea Lumber Co. He attended Central Michigan University, but became involved in acting and dropped out to pursue a career as an actor. Daniels made his feature film debut in Milos Forman’s “Ragtime” in 1981.
Daniels went on to prove himself to be one of Hollywood’s most reliable and versatile actors with roles in successes such as “Terms of Endearment” (1983), “The Purple Rose of Cairo” (1985), “Something Wild” (1986), “Arachnophobia” (1990), “Dumb & Dumber” (1994), “Pleasantville” (1998), “The Hours” (2002) and “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005), to name a few.
Alongside screen work, Daniels has many stage credits to his name and is the founder of The Purple Rose Theater Co. in Chelsea. He is also a musician and songwriter and has recorded two albums. Daniels is married to his childhood sweetheart, Kathleen Treado, and they have three children.
For more information, visit www.jeffdaniels.com.