Tag Archives: Darren Hembd

LOCAL THEATER: ‘History of America’ Moves to a Different ‘Classroom’

By Michael C. Moore
There’ll be zero chow mein, and a lot less testosterone. But the laughs still should be plentiful when the Changing Scene Theatre Northwest moves its production of “The Complete History of America (Abridged)” back to its old digs for a two-weekend encore.
“We had quite a following when we put the show on in November,” said Pavlina Morris , Changing Scene’s artistic director — and a newbie castmember for “America (Abridged).” “We always try to do something a little different for the holidays, anyway, and since everybody seemed to love this, we thought we’d move it over to our place and keep it going.”
“America (Abridged)” will be up for four performances — Dec. 19, 20, 26 and 27 — at Changing Scene’s regular digs on Highway 303 (behind the Orowheat Bakery outlet). The November run was at the Panda Inn on the Bay in West Bremerton, and was performed as either lunch or dinner theater.
The pre- and post-Christmas performances promise to be quite a bit different from the November staging. Both are directed by Darren Hembd , but the material is liable to be considerably tweaked to reflect recent events, like Barack Obama’s ascent to the White House and the official declaration that the economy is, indeed, in recession.
Morris pointed out that the playwrights — Adam Long , Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor of the Reduced Shakespeare Company — are more than amenable to the “freshening” of their material, since they realized that some of it is hundreds of years old.
“They’re great about letting you know that they’re fine with updates,” Morris said of collective which also produced “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” and several other “Complete (Abridged)” comedies.
The material and the venue aren’t all that will change. Two thirds of the cast will be different than the threesome who held court at the Panda. The lone holdover, Briana Osborne , will be joined by Morris and another Changing Scene regular, Kenadi Lewis (replacing Zach Chandler and Justin Deilman , who both had other commitments).
“There are three women in it now, so you know it’s going to be different,” Morris chuckled.
The three castmembers play various figures from American history, from George Washington to George W. Bush. Significant events are reviewed, not always with a scrupulous amount of accuracy. At least the Georges are portrayed by real people — in the November performances, Abe Lincoln was played by a balloon.
“We’re also adding some fun little perks, and we have some audience participation,” Morris said. “If our audience is sharp, there’ll be some comp tickets to be had.”
Although Morris said she enjoyed the work of youngsters Chandler and Deilman in the dinner-theater version of “America (Abridged),” she’s keen to get into a little of the show’s history-mangling herself.
“I saw the original guys perform ‘Shakespeare (Abridged)’ in London,” she said, “and ever since I’ve thought anything they’ve done has just been brilliant. I’ve always wanted to direct, perform in or be involved in any of their shows.”

‘The Complete History of America (Abridged)’
Who: Changing Scene Theatre Northwest
What: Comedy by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor
Where: CSTN playhouse, 5889 Highway 303 (behind the Orowheat Bakery Outlet)
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 19, 20, 26 and 27
Tickets: $10
Information: (360) 792-8601, changingscenenorthwest.org