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      THREE PIGS AND MANY MORE by Larry Biddison

      This is about pleasant reminiscing. Recently my wife showed me a photo taken in 2010 of the cast of an Acting Out program we presented in Galeton at the Potter County Get-together. Our troupe included, in addition to Barbara and me, Pat Davis, Nancy Szabo, Catherine Lannak, Pat Kriner, Sharon Littrell, Susan Strassburg, Rae Lerner, and Bill Bauer. Seeing those faces and the silly hats, I was reminded of how much fun we had performing (for the umpteenth time) a delightfully quirky retelling of “The Three Little Pigs.” This production was a full-fledged radio-style (aka Readers Theatre) presentation, including sound effects and keyboard theme music. In this version of the story, the Pig family consists of the mother and her three daughters. It follows the familiar pattern—except that before the houses of straw, sticks, and bricks get built, there’s a lottery that the Pig family wins, an IRA tax man who takes most of it, and a rascally con-man who pitches the virtues of each type of dwelling. And of course, there’s a wicked wolf who gets his comeuppance at the end.

      The clever script is by Rick McVey of Virginia’s Barter Theatre. It’s full of puns, corny jokes, and allusions to current events. For example, Ed McMuffin arrives with a big check from “Publishers Sweepstakes,” telling the Pig family that are all “wieners.” Almost immediately Oscar Mayer, a very large pig from the IRS, appears on the scene to claim most of the money as taxes. Then Edna Pig along with her daughters, Porcia (pronounced Porkia Pig), Barbie Q. Pig, and Bambi Pig, behave in very pig-like fashion, fighting over what’s left.

      I mentioned that HG has presented this play many times (umpteen, to be exact), mostly in Acting Out format. Over the years, we’ve performed this play with different actors, keyboard operators, and sound effects persons. Among those I readily recall were performances at Leonard Harrison Park, the Ossea Masonic Lodge, the Green Free Library, Country Terrace, and the senior centers in Mansfield, Wellsboro, and Ulysses.

      But the fun actually began in 1999, when Kate Sholonski got a group together to perform the play as a live radio broadcast on KC101 in Liberty. That cast consisted of Mary Hemstreet as Edna Pig, Karen Jacobson as Porcia, Teresa Bonk as Barbie, and Sheryl Shourds as Bambi. The announcer and narrator was Charlie Jacobson (who possibly was also the voice of Ed McMuffin), the accompanist was Marian Miller, and the sound effects were provided by Ed (“Skeet”) Sholonski. As I recall, Craig Devenport played Oscar Mayer, I played the con-man Cadwallader, and Wayne Hemstreet played the Wolf.

      With the advent in 2016 of Gabe Hakvaag’s festival of radio plays (“Tune In to WBFR, Wellsboro’s Broadcast Free Radio”), not only have vintage radio dramas and comedies been featured, but original radio plays by local writers and directors have been performed. In 2017 “The Three Little Pigs” was one of more than two dozen plays presented in HG’s radio play festival in the Warehouse Theatre. I was pleased with the creative energy exhibited by the actors as they assumed these zany roles. For this most recent production Edna Pig was played by Yolie Canales, Bambi by Gigi Bush, Barbie by Jen Painter, and Porcia by Kim Robinson. Ed McMuffin and Oscar Mayer were voiced by Rick Burke, Cadwallader by Noyes Lawton, and the wolf by Bill Bauer. Bruce Applegate provided sound effects and Pat Davis the music. I was once again the director—and a very pleased one at that.

      By witnessing the joyful engagement of the many casts and audiences over the years, I declare this play to be a “wiener.”

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