Rise up and enjoy ‘Popcorn Falls’

You ever been around friends and remember something funny and start laughing and can’t stop and of course, they ask why and you can’t explain?

Me too. Happened Saturday night.

All I could tell them was I’d seen dress rehearsal for a play earlier in the week and would be going to the Sunday matinee and was already laughing — was in tears — thinking of different parts. Whatever I could tell them would not translate; I’m not that good of a communicator.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to experience it.

Full disclosure: these next few moments with you will be about a play that my own personal child is in.

But also, full disclosure, it’s funny, and if you like to laugh, you should go.

It’s Popcorn Falls, it’s at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Shreveport Little (But It’s A Big Deal) Theatre And Really Not That Little. The run ends with Sunday’s matinee. A coffee table book celebrating the theatre’s first century is on sale in the lobby too; only 400 pictures in there so … think about it. I’ve spent hours enjoying mine.

So, Popcorn Falls. It isn’t Shakespeare. (Although The Bard is mentioned!, stud that he was.) It’s genius and sophisticated, but sophisticated in disguise. Here’s the Associated Press nut graph:

“The sleepy town of Popcorn Falls is forced into bankruptcy when a neighboring town and villain threaten to turn the place into a sewage treatment plant. The town’s only hope – open a theater! Two actors play more than 20 roles in a world of farce, love, and desperation, proving once and for all that art can save the world.”

Northwest Louisiana is so blessed to have 5-star talent in all phases of local theater. You can’t swing a cat without hitting somebody who is a bona fide director, set designer, actor, or prop whiz … we’re so lucky. There is a stage and there is air and everything else has to be created. Moods. Sense of place. Drama. Comedy. Music. Suggestions of silence. People are amazing, what they are able to create out of nothing.

Popcorn Falls is an example. A two-man show. The actors never really leave the stage. Less than 100 minutes with a 10-minute intermission. And none of those minutes is “filler” because every second, even the scene changes, have a purpose.

So, Casey Allen, my physical son, is one of the actors, and Barry “the Pride of Grand Cane” Larson, who has teamed with Casey in so many things that I feel as if he’s my backup son, except he doesn’t look like me, is the other actor. They are scared to death before any play they are in starts — it’s like the Boston Celtics’ Bill Russell throwing up before every game — but they are perfectly at home on stage. Strange and familiar dynamic.

But that’s what makes this and most other plays I’ve seen here good: they care. Casey and Barry. Director Sean Dion and the subtle “add-ins” he created. Tom Serio’s set. A rolling table (you’ll see). Riley Keene’s stage managing. The sound from Barry Butler, the best in the biz. The lighting. On and on. Even the work of “Intimacy Coordinator” Liesl Cruz. (See it and you’ll know.)

Happy for everyone because I know what they’ve invested and how much joy and honesty they bring to the day’s work. They made me laugh. Still are. It feels as if they’ve created something just for you. For no one but you. When theatre is “done right,” that’s the magic that happens.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

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