KC Fringe: ‘Slurry’ by Mike Rice


“Slurry” by Former KC Star Reporter Mike Rice Premiering at 14th Annual KC Fringe Festival

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Lost love, lies, regret, jealousy, death and corporate greed are part of a toxic stew that makes up “Slurry”, a new one-act play by Mike Rice that will be performed this month at The Unicorn Theatre as part of the 14th annual KC Fringe Festival.

Matt Leonard, Laura Jacobs and Davis DeRock star in this drama and Scott Cordes directs.

Show times are July 21 at 5 p.m.; July 22 at 3:30 p.m.; July 24 at 6:30 p.m.; July 27 at 9:30 p.m. and July 28 at 8 p.m. The Unicorn Theatre is located at 3828 Main Street in Kansas City, Missouri.

Set in Chillicothe, MO in 2005, “Slurry” tells the story about Wade Cruze (played by Leonard), a 34-year-old line operator at a chocolate manufacturing plant who has snuck into the house of his ex-lover Sherry (played by Jacobs) to tell her that he has developed a lung disease from his exposure to the butter-flavoring chemicals at the plant.

Sherry, a single 38-year-old woman who has inherited her grandmother’s house, works at the plant too and so does her current boyfriend Mike (played by DeRock), a young and antagonistic outsider who has climbed through the ranks. Although he is married, Wade still has feelings for Sherry. Thinking that he will die soon, he wants to convey that to Sherry. But tensions rise when Mike too pays an unexpected visit. Secrets get revealed which may throw all their lives into chaos.

“Slurry” is the second play that Mike Rice has written and produced. His first production, “John and Leslie are in the Copy Room Again” was a hit at the 2016 KC Fringe Festival.

Rice worked as a reporter at The Kansas City Star for 20 years but got the idea of writing “Slurry” from his current job as a paralegal at an Independence, MO law firm. The lawyers at that firm, he said, have represented hundreds of employees of snack food manufacturers who have suffered permanent lung diseases from exposure to certain butter-flavoring chemicals used to make snack foods.

“The characters in “Slurry” and the plant where they work are fictional,” Rice said, “but they share much in common with the real workers who have been crippled by these toxic chemicals. They live in small towns where a factory is one of, if not, the biggest employer.

“And if that plant is new, like the one depicted in “Slurry”,’ he said, “it is seen as a savior that will revitalize that town.  Sadly, the employer pays many of these folks back by poisoning them.”

 “Slurry” is one of four plays that are being performed at The Unicorn Theatre as part of the Playwrights Co-op at the 2018 Fringe Festival. The other plays are “Adulting” by Prisca Jebet Kendagor, “Jo” by Pete Bakely and “Products of Conception” by Joshua Efron.

Tickets cost $10 and a Fringe button must be purchased for a one-time fee of $5. All audience members must have a button to get into the Fringe shows and galleries.

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