"The Outsider" Might be One of Scripps Ranch Theatre's Best Productions Yet

The American Politics-Focused Comedy Opens Their Season Number 43 and is currently Playing Until October 9th  

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

Deborah Dodaro, Adam Daniel and Robert May in The Outsider. Photo Ken Jaques

What better time to produce a play about the public relations and propaganda behind American politics. Actor and playwright Paul Slade Smith created a high wave with The Outsider playing at Alliant Int’l University. In the hilarious comedy that reflects reality in a creative way, the present governor has been caught in a scandal so, the lieutenant governor Ned Newley (Robert May) has to step in. He is all about the work and not the cameras or the shpeal. Chief of staff  Dave Riley, (Adam Daniel) is confident in his boss for planning, budgeting, and knowing what is best for the community but not for the reporters and interviews. He hires professional pollster Paige Caldwell (Deborah Dodaro) to test the waters and launch a prominent governor image for Newley. Because she is the only one on staff so far, she goes ahead and hires political consultant extraordinaire, Arthur Vance (John Nutten) who immediately launches the new representative on live TV and it is a media fail. Vance runs with that and along with Caldwell's polls which threw that people do not necessarily see him as governor but would have him over for a bbq at their home, both experts plot a totally incompetent image for Ned as it has been proven that people support politicians who do not know what they are doing. 

Adam Daniel, John Nutten and Robert May in The Outsider. Photo Ken Jaques

Riley thinks it is a terrible idea because not only would it set up his boss for more disaster, but Newley is a true and caring political figure -but behind the scenes and buried in budgets and papers-. Dave gets a temp assistant to hold down the fort while the staff is being put together. Louise Peakes (Michelle Marie Trester) arrives and bless her heart she does not know a first name from a coffee machine but has all the positive and forward attitude than anybody in that room. She can proactively transfer the wrong call, leave people waiting and switch their names up to a point where she crashes the new governor's interview and announces her position as executive governor? You can imagine the huge opportunity Vance sees in Peakes. He goes with the wave and makes it bigger by putting her in the running. He has friends in big TV stations so he coordinates another interview for Ned and plots this whole charade to make him look super incompetent. At this point, journalist Rachel Parsons (Leigh Akin) is questioning these setups and wants the real true coverage. Dave has a plan and will not let his boss go down. 

Michelle Marie Trester in The Outsider. Photo Ken Jaques

This production is very well executed all the way from the pre-curtain speech that is delivered like a public service announcement,  positively brilliant! to the direction of each actor by Christopher Williams. Alyssa Kane's set design is absolutely presidential, she even included a hall. Amazing job along with set builder Nathan Waits. Adam Daniel is total comedy. His nervous and anxious interpretation of Dave Riley is hysterical, parallel to  Michelle Marie Trester as Louise Peakes, what a ride she gives audiences. I last saw her as the confused Sue in Backyard Renaissance's Abigail's Party, this was a total 180 and I appreciate her ability. Political/poll duo Deborah Dodaro and John Nutten as Paige and Arthur form a pair not to be messed with. Like old-school street vendors with the fast-talking, making people dizzy to trick them into buying. They bring loads of energy to the stage that integrates perfectly with the outrageousness happening. Robert May as Ned Newley is the axis in the show and he ushers the plot along and steers to his fellow cast especially Adam and Michelle Marie. Leigh Akin as the feisty journalist Rachel comes in the second half of the story with her cameraman AC Peterson (Walter Murray). Akin is another axis in the story and even though her participation is smaller, it is mighty. 

Michelle M arie Trester, Leigh Akin, and Robert May in The Outsider. Photo Ken Jaques
I come from TV so seeing Walter Murray's AC, brought an array of flashbacks because he has nailed it to the core. The overall attitude, being unfaced and just focused on setting the camera and microphones on people is pure art. Another small role but key as Slade Smith wrote an added human layer of the camera guy that opens up to the governor and brings a resolution to the story. Audiences can appreciate The Outsider because all the pieces are in the right place: Story, direction, actors, set, and mostly, timing. This is definitely a comedy that you will not want to miss. Perfect for a friend's night or afternoon out. 

This Friday, September 30 there will be free wine when you wear your red, white & blue!

The rest of the production team includes lighting designer Jared Jacobs, Pam Stompoly-Ericson in costume design, Ted Leib sound designer, Daniel Long scenic assistant, Ruth Russell production manager, and DJ Maloney stage manager.

For ticket prices and performance times please click here

Walter Murray and Robert Mayin The Outsider. Photo Ken Jaques


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