Back by popular demand, The Funeral of Mortimer Johnson returns to the Snoring Sasquatch arts house on Jan. 20 and 21, following a successful run in the fall. Two performances ran on successive Fridays, both of which were sold out before the first one ran.
“We were pleasantly surprised by its popularity,” said Jason Smith, who co-created the play with Ann Deatherage and Brian Lawrence as a fundraiser for the Snoring Sasquatch. “But only 35 people can come to each performance, so we knew a lot of people missed out the first time around.”
The Funeral of Mortimer Johnson is an interactive play, consisting mainly of improvised dialogue and actions following a plot developed by Smith, Deatherage and Lawrence.
It deals with the aftermath of the death of the title character, a fictitious octogenarian billionaire and Creston Valley industry magnate, and consists of three acts — the funeral at the Snoring Sasquatch, a licensed dinner at Coffee Creek Café and the reading of the will back at the Sasquatch — during which the performers remain in character as they interact with each other and the audience.
The creators got the idea from the Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, the popular “environmental theatre” event that enjoyed long runs in Vancouver, Toronto and New York, and is still running in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Rather than simply watching, ticket holders are seated among the performers, effectively becoming part of the action.
Jon Smith plays Mortimer Johnson, and other characters include family members of the deceased, played by Gail Kitt (mother), Kelly Mehrer (brother), Roxy Schmalz (widow) and Bobby Doran (daughter). Deatherage and Smith also play roles, joined by Suzanne Chubb, Derek Doyle, Jordan Koop, Stephanie Sweet and Dan Caverly.
“We have a great cast, and I’m so glad they were able to return to revive this play,” said Deatherage. “It’s a lot of fun, and we’re happy to be able to share it with more people.”
Tickets for the revival of The Funeral of Mortimer Johnson are $30, available only in advance at Black Bear Books and Kingfisher Used Books, and include the play, which begins at 6 p.m., and dinner (cash bar). The play contains subject matter and language suitable for mature audiences.
— SASQUATCH ARTS AND MUSIC SOCIETY