Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

The Wellington Community Theatre presented ‘The Shame of Tombstone’ over the weekend in Memorial Auditorium.

The melodrama was based in 1880’s Tombstone, Ariz., and featured a story line about a Amanda Goodsort’, played by Lisa Vargas, and her alter and hidden ego ‘The Masked Canary’ a singer at a less than reputable establishment. “Goodsort’ left Boston it is revealed where her daughter ‘Victoria’, Emily Altis, is still living, though she is set to be visiting.

“It’s hilarious, and a there is a lot of things that you can do in a melodrama that you can’t do in a straight drama,” Vargas said. “It feeds our enthusiasm and our characters. As long as it get a laugh.”

Thanks to the support of ‘Flora Courtland’, Michelle Wellington, there is a movement to stop the citizens of Tombstone from visiting the less reputable establishments, though she has no clue who the Masked Canary is.

“At my age trying to be the sexy person was kind of daunting,” Vargas said. “It was challenging to be Amanda with the secret and now I’m the Masked Canary. But, I still have my heart of gold and my back story on how I got there.”

An evil plot is hatched by ‘Judge Mortimer Harshly’, Phil Hennig, once he discovers the truth behind the ‘Goodsort’s’ identity.

Hennig created his character after the screen villains ‘Hedley Lamarr’ from ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ’Snidely Whiplash.’

“You can’t play it tight or straight, it’s obviously a stereotype,” he said. “You have fun fighting with the crowd. It was great. In rehearsal you don’t get that, it’s actually so much more fun to have someone react to that.”

The audience was invited to actively participate throughout the play with cue cards raised when the crowd was to cheer, applaud, boo and hiss. The reactions of the characters as they responded to the interactions set this play up for success, adding an additional layer to the story line.

‘Goodsort’ later comes clean to her daughter and friends about her secret identity, and how it allowed her to have the financial support that she desired to make her more than modest life what it was. After the difficulties of her husband dying and selling everything in Boston, ‘Goodsort’ moved out west to make a new start.

The co-Directors, Helen White and Dorothy Podschun, both stated how excited they were with the ensembles performance and how they came together during the pre-production process.

“I am truly excited,” Podschun said. “They did a wonderful job and I am proud of them. It’s been hard for some of them, some of them have never acted before. But, we have a bunch of talented people that have acted before and they helped them through it.”

The enjoyment of working with the cast was shared among the actors.

“It’s an amazing group of people,” Vargas said. “Everybody did what they needed to do, they came in and got the job done. Theatre is not as glamorous as people think it is. We have another life out there with work or school. We give ourselves to it to make it what it is.”

Though the idea for the play began last year, it fit in perfectly with the 2017 celebration of the Chisholm Trail 150th Anniversary.

“I thought it went right along with everything else that is going on right now,” Vargas said. “I wish we could do it again this summer.”