"AROUND SUNOL" by BREE K. JAMES


March 18, 2002

BETTER HURRY, Friday and Saturday are your last chances to catch the Sunol Repertory Theatre's hilarious production of "Caught in the Villain's Gaze." There are still a few seats available (925-862-2020), and you can always try your luck at the door on show nights. Since this is my last chance before the show ends, I thought I'd introduce you to some of the stellar cast and crew members. In previous columns, you met most of the students in the play, including Sunol Glen students Kari Davis as heroine Purity, Martin Smith as Billy the Roustabout, Sarae Van Dyke as Imakeed Morris and Mary Chambers as the very busy Sign Girl.

Sunol Glen grad and Foothill sophomore Nathan Harvey plays hero Frank Hartwright, and Patrick Foster, also a Sunol Glen grad and now a junior at Foothill, is a video tech and has been having a ball taping his dad, Bob Foster, as villain Santini. The whole Foster clan is in on the show, with mom Laurie pitching in where ever she's needed. She and Bob were very active in SRT during its first decade, with Laurie acting and directing and Bob playing everything from the group's first villain to a pregnant lady and an Italian manure salesman. Bob is a retired educator and a Sunol Glen School Board Trustee.

There's no way this column will hold the distinguished vitae of the rest of the cast and crew, so here's the short version. Patricia Balch, appearing as Santini's sidekick Lota Donna, is also set decorator and costumer. Patti has been in SRT for 17 years and has brought the house down with her many hilarious portrayals. A Fremonter, graphic artist and muralist, she is also a pilot!

Phil Mumford plays Randy Bilkyou, another of Santini's gang, and has been active in SRT since its beginning, doing everything from bit parts to villains, as well as directing. Phil teaches at Sunol Glen and lives in Livermore. Ron Smith - Martin's dad - is this season's hypochondriac, Frederick Seekley. He has portrayed a hero, villains and numerous other characters in his seven years with SRT. A longtime Sunolian, Ron owns a firm that designs and sells trade show exhibits.

Diane Tiessen, whose name you've seen here as SRT's producer, also plays glamorous entertainer Mariam Teasmore, and is Patti's costume assistant. In her fifth year with SRT, she has served as prompter, house manager, producer and performer. Diane is a retired teacher and hopes to learn to tap dance and visit all seven continents.

Ted Tinges of Pleasanton is back for his second season, this time portraying town drunk Bernard Lush. An experienced thespian, Ted has appeared in "Nash Bridges" and numerous commercials, performed with the Chanticleers in Castro Valley, and in many Pleasanton Playhouse productions. In her seventh year with SRT with an ever-increasing list of character roles to her credit, Louise Throop plays this year's socialite, Mrs. Imogene Hewlett-Morris. She is a wealth manager and has her Foothills Securities, Inc. office here in town.

SRT's wonderful piano player, G. Allen Schell, is in his fourth season and has also played the drunken choir director in "Our Town" with the Asbury Players. Allen is a choir director and lives in Livermore.
And in case you thought Tom Harland is only the playwright, director, and set designer of this year's extravaganza, he also plays the show's narrator. A founder of SRT, Tom acted in and directed many SRT productions during its first decade.

As for the crew, house manager Barbara Egbert (Mary Chambers' mom), like prompter Vivienne Scheib, shows up on stage several times to steal some laughs. After five years on the SRT stage, technical director Derek Johnson is on the other side of the footlights, along with Greg Davis, back in the booth for his fifth season, and Klay Kunkel, who joins the techies for the first time. Rounding out the crew are Diane's husband, Irv Tiessen, serving as property manager in his fifth year both on and off stage, Leanne Heine, stage manager and an SRT member since 1989 with lots of character parts to her credit, and last but not least, the make-up artists, first-timers Diane Fries and Mary Marshall.

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