By Bob Evans
A new production at Kansas City’s The Living Room bring a new play by local playwright, Ron Simonian to audiences where life-long friends find themselves locked in and their friendship pulled and tested in “Trigger Happy.”
Rusty Sneary, Artistic Director took a chance with a piece developed through The Living Room’s Writer’s Den series and chose to produce one of the plays developed there. This piece finds two childhood friends who both landed in academia, but on opposite ends of the teter-totter. One, Frank, becomes a bleeding heart liberal while the other, Jerry, remains nearly unchanged and unconcerned with changing American style and values.
While one believes a Santa Clause doll offends others of different religions, the other says Santa violates nothing and is merely a symbol of the holiday season and represents commercialism. Frank criticizes the book choices for Jerry’s class, while Jerry sees it as a chance to facilitate creative thought and learning.
Added to their disagreement is the political structure of the college system and the fact that to get ahead, one professor “sold out” to become a department chair in order to gain a hefty raise and a private plush bathroom. Overall, “Trigger Happy” tells the story of the haves and the have nots. “Trigger Happy” displays current trends as recent as The Women’s March after the president’s inauguration.
For “Trigger Happy” Sneary chose two of Kansas City’s strongest male actors in Scott Cordes as Frank, the extreme leftist professor, and Mark Robbins as Jerry, the just off center professor who fights changes to the norm. Both performed brilliantly in the two-person play. They gave seamless transitions from aggressor to victim and back again as the power continued to shift as the subjects changed. The chemistry between them was dynamic.
In his curtain speech, Sneary explained that Kansas City continues to grow as a theater town and that The Living Room wants to expand on that idea by presenting local actors in home grown plays while providing meaningful theater pieces for the Kansas City audiences.
“Trigger Happy” comes to stage with a known string of locals as part of the production team. They include: Rusty Sneary, director; Lacey Pacheco, stage manager; David Kiehl, sound design; Nicole Jaja, lighting design; Shawnna Journagan, costume design; Shawnna Journagan, properties design; Kyle Dyck, technical director; Bradley J. Thomas, house and box office manager; Brian Paulette, photographer; Ben Auxier, poster design.
“Trigger Happy” continues through April 16 at The Living Room Theatre 1818 Megee, Kansas City Missouri. Tickets, times, dates, and prices can be found on The Living Room website.
Tags: The Living Room, “Trigger Happy”, Kansas City Performing Arts, Kansas City Arts & Entertainment, Kansas City Theater, Ron Simonian