A One-Man Stage Show
Starring Tim Behrens
Written by Patrick F. McManus Directed by Jack Delehanty
In 1992, Pat McManus, already recognized as one of America's funniest humor writers from his columns in Field and Stream and Outdoor Life, and his 12 books, wondered if his stories about growing up in rural Idaho might work on the stage. Pat used his own fear of the dark as a central theme to weave some of his favorite pieces together. The result was described by one reviewer as "a wonderful cross between Mark Twain and Bill Cosby."
The two-act play begins as Pat rummages through an old trunk. Each discovery - a piece of tent, the slingshot "Whomper," his collection of dried road kill, a cracked brace from his sled, "Rosebud" - triggers recollections of an incident from his childhood.
The key to the success of Pat's writing - and Behrens' acting - lies in activating the imagination of the audience. Just enough detail is provided to connect the viewer to each misadventure. The audience fills in the blanks, and makes each story their own. As a matter of fact, one six-minute segment takes place entirely in the dark, when there is nothing but the sound of Tim's voice and the rolling laughter of the audience. (Tim says of this part of the play, "Sometimes the laughter is so loud it hurts my ears!")
In this way, specific incidents become universal experiences. Behrens portrays more than 12 different characters, each suggested by nothing more than a change of voice, posture or movement, ranging from the dirt-encrusted old woodsman, Rancid Crabtree, to the daft but well meaning Mrs. Swisher.
Video Tapes of "A Fine and Pleasant Misery" are available for purchase. Sample, demo tapes are available for presenters seeking to make their audiences laugh loud and long.