Valhalla’s Word Wave winners: 3 one-act plays in 3 nights

Tahoe Onstage

From left, director David Anderson, actor Mark Williams and director LaMarcus Tinker prep for this weekend’s performances in the Valhalla Boathouse Theatre.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage

“If you like watching art being made, this is really cool.” Mark Williams’s observation offstage came as he and fellow actors, stage crew and directors made final preparations for performances in the Valhalla Boathouse Theatre and Grand Hall at the Tallac Historic Site in South Lake Tahoe.

Valhalla’s Threesome of Comedies, “Deanna and Paul,” “Café D’Automatique” and “Funeral for a Friend” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 3-5. TICKET LINK

The performances are the culmination of the fourth-annual Word Wave Lake Tahoe One-Act Play Competition. Nearly 100 original plays were submitted.

Ginger Nicolay-Davis, Word Wave co-producer and the vice president of Valhalla Tahoe’s board of directors, said the idea of Word Wave began 10 years ago. Stage-reading performances and question-and-answer sessions were held in mid-September. Now it’s showtime.

“I love all three pieces – they’re fantastic,” she said.

The first two plays will be in the Boathouse Theatre. Audience members will receive “obituaries” at intermission. When the second play ends, everyone will walk to Grand Hall for “Funeral for a Friend.”

“To get the real feel, candles will light up the walkway,” said director LaMarcus Tinker. “It is an actual set, a funeral to end the night on a high note.”

All three plays are filled with comedy, you see.

Tinker is a big man and he’s also a big deal as an actor, director and producer. When Word Wave co-producer Diana Evans discovered he was living in the area, she “insisted” he get involved with Word Wave. Tinker starred in the television programs “Friday Night Lights,” “Cougar Town,” “Glee” and “Arrested Development.” He’s also appeared in six feature films.

He said he wants to share his knowledge, inspire and motivate.

“Without a vision, individuals won’t have anything to strive to,” he said. “I learned by watching incredible directors and producers and I want to bring it back to Tahoe.”

Written by Dave Hanson, “Café D’Automatique” is directed by David Anderson. It is about a couple on a first date in a French café. Anytime either say something that is not necessarily true or exaggerated, like somebody might do on a first date, their words get auto corrected as they would on a phone if there is misspelling.

“Comedy is all about truth, so a lot of things are very funny but the characters don’t think they are. They’re just living it,” Anderson said. “So the challenges are the same as they are in drama, actually. It’s to make it truthful unless it’s a complete and total unrealistic farce. This is not that case. Obviously, what’s happening in our little one act doesn’t happen in real life, but the characters are real and their reactions to this are real. It’s really quite comical.”

“Deanna and Paul” is written by Dagney Kerr, who will attend Friday and Saturday.

Williams, the male co-star, said, “It’s a lyrical fairy tale of two people on the opposite ends of the spectrum who find each other on a rainy night. It’s a sweet love story and we need more of that.”

John Paul Porter’s “Funeral for a Friend” is described as “a play about friendship. About sharing our vulnerabilities. About growing older. About saying things you would never say to someone that wasn’t your best friend.”

The goal of the entire evening of shows?

“To make you forget about the world you left behind when you walk through those doors,” Tinker said. “It’s to give you an escape and to live as if a child again, living in the moment.”

— Tim Parsons

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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