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Twilight Zone an evening of cheesy fun
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Twilight Zone an evening of cheesy fun

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

The Twilight Zone Live
Theater Schmeater
Through April 17


Take three episodes of The Twilight Zone, place in separate holders, grate huge amounts of cheese over the top of each, bake and serve. Theater Schmeater has been providing three-episode productions of Twilight Zone since they came into existence back around 1992. They started out making it a late-night program, but in the last couple of years, they've moved it to the normal 8 p.m. time.

As directed by Tim Moore - who plays a bang-up Rod Serling each night - these are played "straight" off the script, with Twilight Zone music and eerie soap-opera-style sound effects, and actors who take everything seriously. It ends up being hysterical. Plus, the Schmee adds commercials.

This outing, the episodes are "The Midnight Sun," "The Chaser" and "Shadow Play." At the beginning of each episode, you're told, by Rod Serling, that you will be entering The Twilight Zone. Dun duh dun!

"The Midnight Sun" tells the story of people living in upper New York state, where Earth's orbit has been disturbed and the sun shines 24 hours a day. There is no night and the power grid is failing, so there is no electricity. Earth has gotten so close to the sun that the temperature is dangerously hot. Norma (Heather Gautschi) is a painter. Her neighbor, Mrs. Bronson (Karen Jo Fairbrook), gets upset with for painting pictures of hot suns. She asks the painter to paint something with cool water. When Mrs. Bronson sees the painting of the waterfall, she loves it, but dies. Then Norma wakes to find herself back in "reality," which is that everything is freezing and there is only moonlight, and the Earth has moved far away from the sun, and the world will soon freeze.

"The Chaser" has the common theme of a man who loves a woman who doesn't care for him at all. Trick Danneker plays Roger, who is in love with Leila (Heather Gautschi), who doesn't want to give him the time of day. He is guided to a strange shop and the proprietor, Professor Daemon (a lovely, ominous John Q. Smith), gives him a love potion, but warns him he might not like the consequences. Of course, the potion works wonderfully and Leila loves Roger so much that she's like a faithful dog. Roger comes back to the professor to find out if there is an antidote, but the only antidote offered is to kill Leila. There is no middle ground available. Gautschi gets every beat right as she is at first disdainful and then completely, and realistically, devoted.

In "Shadow Play," a man has the same terrible dream every night. He dreams he is tried, convicted, and executed for a murder, and every night wakes up from being electrocuted. He tries each time to tell the people in his dream that they will all die if he is executed, but they don't listen in time to stop the execution. We see him (Patrick Allcorn) struggle through one more such dream as he tells the prosecutor (Larry Leggett) and the district attorney (John Q. Smith) his story one more time. Will he beat the executioner this time?

These are sheer, unadulterated fun. No swear words, no unseemly nudity or sexual connotations, old-style television with great sets by Tim Moore, lights by Dave Baldwin, and fun sound from Larry Ryan. The costumes, from Julia Evanovich, are period-appropriate. Step into the Twilight Zone, and bring extra money for those funny, pale-blue alcoholic drinks. For more information, go to www.schmeater.org or call 206-324-5801

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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