There is an honored place in the canon of American theater for the outrageous and silly. Without these kinds of plays, our lives would be much duller.
With that in mind, there is pleasure to be had in The Bigfoot Letters by Nancy Nixon and Russel Stich, now at Blank Canvas Theatre for a brief two week run. This is part of the BCT Factory Series of new plays, and this one definitely generates a lot of energy.
It’s based on a Bigfoot hotline that Sheila calls to get some help with a furry creature she’s encountered. Actually, she ran down the mother Sasquatch with her car and now she’s adopted the baby Bigfoot.
This is exciting news for the fur-nerds who run the hotline, and they dispatch themselves to the burg where Sheila lives. But soon, their activities are complicated by a Bible-spouting pastor, a dim sheriff, and other local wastrels.
Nixon and Stich stitch some clever lines into this goofy assemblage. When the existence of a Bigfoot is questioned, one character notes that, “There’s more evidence of Bigfoot than anything in the Bible.” And when panic grips the town, one woman chills noting, “I don’t have to forage for food, I have a Costco membership.”
Stich directs his cast with vigor and keeps the momentum going. But much of the humor is of the Hee Haw variety, long on corn and short on wit. And some of the very short scenes could probably be compressed so that there are fewer blackouts for chairs and tables to be rearranged. Indeed, it might work better with no blackouts and no set at all. The faster this goes, the better it plays.
Co-author Stich, who doubles as director, and other members of the local improv group Something Dada throw themselves into this material with gusto. Barb Dragony has fun with her role as the foster mom of the hairy infant, and Beth Gaiser as down home Stella and Ronnie Thompson as the uptight Pastor add some laughs.
If you’re into fast-paced silliness and crypto-zoology, this is the show for you.
The Bigfoot Letters
Through September 24 at Blank Canvas Theatre, at the West 78th Street Studios, 440-941-045.