‘Belle of Bisbee’ opens Friday

The cast of “Belle of Bisbee.” Seated, left, Cami Word, Allison Patterson, Ame Leggett, Carol Vencill, Luke Patterson, Gabriella Patterson and Stephen Kliewer. Standing, left, Kate Loftus, Mary Zeise, Bryce Leggett, Sebastian Hobbs, Andy Martin, Debbie Gay and Dave Dranchak.

In a departure from more serious recent plays, MidValley Theatre Company’s upcoming production “Belle of Bisbee” is a mining town melodrama featuring absurd stereotypes and caricatures that make it irresistible to hiss, boo, and cheer along.

“It’s a simple plot, with everything out in the open,” said Director Kate Loftus. “After the convolutions of Agatha Christie, I wanted to do something completely different. We’re having a lot of fun with it.”

Performances are April 13-15 and 20-22, with Friday and Saturday shows at 7 p.m, Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. at Old Lostine School gymnasium. Tickets are $8 general admission. Refreshments will be available.

A style of theater popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, melodramas were designed to give people relief from the strain and woes of everyday life by transforming complex issues into black and white situations with clear solutions and definite winners and losers.

“Exaggeration is one of the main hallmarks of melodrama,” said Loftus. “It ratchets up the ordinary and makes it extraordinary, and gives us an opportunity to stop and laugh at ourselves.”

With a run-time of approximately 85 minutes including intermission, the story moves along at a lively pace and embraces rough and tumble fun as well as some more reflective interludes of mining camp music. The cast is a truly intergenerational group, ranging in age from five to 77 and hailing from all parts of Wallowa County.

Cast includes Andy Martin, Dave Dranchak, Debbie Gay, Ame Leggett, Luke Patterson, Carol Vencill, Bryce Leggett, Allison Patterson, Mary Zeise, Stephen Kliewer, Gabriella Patterson and Sebastian Hobbs, with crew and extras David Cook, Ingrid Cook, Lyn Westhoff, Gwen Menton, Jennifer Hobbs and Justin Burns.

Info: 541-569-2302.

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