By Erin Hawkins
Olympic Peninsula News Group
SEQUIM — When young New Jersey native Nick Cristano is offered his dream job in Seattle, his old-fashioned grandparents will come up with anything to get him to stay.
A story line people of all ages might know too well, “Over the River and Through the Woods” is a comical play set in the late 1980s and early 1990s written by Joe DiPietro and directed by Jim Guthrie. The show opened Thursday and will run through April 16.
“Over the River and Through the Woods” shows at Olympic Theatre Arts at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. Sundays.
Tickets are available online at olympic theatrearts.org and at the box office from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.
Guthrie earned a minor in drama from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has been involved in community theater since the 1980s. He has acted and directed in several plays in Port Angeles and Sequim.
“I like to do something a little bit different,” Guthrie said.
“This one breaks the fourth wall, with the characters talking to the audience.”
He explained that the characters perform monologues throughout the play to tell their individual stories.
This play in particular is interesting for him to direct because he didn’t know his grandparents well, he said.
“It shows a young man’s relationship with his two sets of grandparents,” Guthrie said.
“It was interesting for me because my parents were older and I never really got to know my grandparents.”
One element Guthrie and his production team are incorporating into the show is projecting images during the characters’ monologues to reflect the monologue in some way.
Lead actor Brohm Dason said he resonates with the character of Nick Cristano.
“I just fell in love with the script and saw that there was a character that really resounded with me,” Dason said.
Dason believes Nick represents the typical American man just trying to make it in society. The play portrays his perspective on life and those of his adoring yet opposing grandparents.
“It’s a very family-friendly play,” Dason said. “There is something that speaks to a younger generation and also I think to a lot of parents and grandparents.”
Charlotte Carroll, a transplant from Alaska playing the role of Aida, said she has been directing plays for several years, such as “I Do! I Do!,” and this is her first play at Olympic Theatre Arts where she gets to be on the other side of the stage.
“The part of Aida, she’s so adorable,” Carroll said. “It’s a nice little part.”
Carroll said this play has a good balance of heartwarming moments and comedy.
“Because [Aida] is very old-fashioned in her nature, she has some very funny lines,” Carroll explained. “There’s lots of laughs in this show. It’s also very heartwarming.”
Other actors in the show include Britni Alleman-Lorenzi, Marti McAllister-Wolf, Rich Hendricksen and Joe Shultz.
As part of Olympic Theatre Arts’ community outreach campaign, it is partnering with other area nonprofits for each of this season’s shows. For “Over the River,” it will be partnering with Peninsula Behavioral Health.
Erin Hawkins is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.