by Lynn Geyer
“Java Tacoma: Episode 39 ‘The Mochaccino Candidate’” is the third installment of the on-going original sit-com presented by Dukesbay Productions. It appears to be a sort of stage version of the TV show “Friends” with a far better plot and much better actors.
According to director Randy Clark, playwright D. Richard Tucker gave Clark and company the almost completed script with the admonition for them to do with it what they would. Therefore, “Java Tacoma” has a lot of improv and actor imagination.
Clark has done a nice job with the direction of this gaggle of eccentrics. Technical Director Scott Campbell does the perfect coffee shop set design.
It’s election time and Tacoma’s coffee house, Perky’s, is right in the middle of the political scene.
One of coffee house regulars, Kate, is making yet another bid for City Council for a very understandable reason – a prime parking space right in front of City Hall comes with the job! Bert, the shop’s proprietor, is convinced he is a better choice for the job as is Evelyn, a fellow business owner.
While all this electioneering is going on, a break-in in the building next door brings on a covert police action with a couple of undercover cops wandering in and out of the shop drinking coffee, playing of their lap-tops and occasionally glancing at the crime-scene looking for clues.
In the meantime, Bert’s wife, Linda, has been told she mustn’t talk due to throat surgery so she goes about trying to mime her two-cents-worth while Jeri, an aspiring actress (who doesn’t remember who wrote “Romeo and Juliet”), pops on and off stage emoting various audition pieces.
About this time, a shot in the coffee seems appropriate!
George McClure takes on four supernumerary roles in the production — Tommy, John, Sergio and Glen. He does a nice job with each.
The two members of the boys in blue pen-stripe are Demetrick Louis as Neville and Bryan Yambe as Crane. They are so officious and nonchalant about the whole affaire that they are truly laughable.
Mick Flaaen is once more seen as Bert, one of the saner characters of the show. He does a very good job of maintaining his persona doing some really dumb things.
Syra Beth Puett doubles as Amber, a local political party person who convinces Bert he should run for office, and Evelyn, who is another candidate. As usual Puett, a consummate actor, does fine work in both roles.
Betzy J. Miller reprises her role as Kate, the ever-running candidate. Miller is a sheer delight on stage. Her line delivery is right on and her comedic timing perfect.
Susan Mayeno is Jeri, the would-be actress. She is soooo bad, she is marvelous! It is that simple. Her delivery of “So, what do ya think?” after each awful audition piece is an aisle roller.
Aya Hashiguchi, who produced the show, plays Linda, Bert’s wife. Hashiguchi is charming in the waif-like persona of Linda. Her lack of words works wonders for her interpretation of the role and makes her work side-splittingly laughable.
“Java Tacoma” continues at Dukesbay Productions at the First Congregational Church at 918 Division Ave, Tacoma. There is plenty of parking at the rear of the building on I Street, where the subterranean entrance to the theatre is located.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays through August 11. For reservations or more information call (253) 267-0869 or E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
So, if you like intrigue (the feds are everywhere), competition (the timely rivalry for City Council elections) and just plain humor (laughs abound) catch a cup of “Java Tacoma” before it gets cold.