Old west play rollicks through a fictional Craig crime spree
David Morris's play follows the lives of the long-lost, and fictional, twin daughters of Butch Cassidy
Craig — Jeremy Looper recalls watching the old 1969 movie, “Support Your Local Sheriff!” and chuckling at how some of the characters are portrayed — characters comically out of place when faced with elements of the wild, wild West.
“They’re intimidated by the main character,” he said. “They try to avoid fights, and that’s what I’ve been trying to base my character on.”
Jeremy plays a banker-mayor-editor who tries fruitlessly to keep order in David Morris’s “An Old West Craig Crime Spree.” The play is slated to be part of the activities for Grand Olde West Days, at 3 p.m. on Monday at the Pavilion. Admission costs a dollar.
Like Jeremy, a soon-to-be junior at Moffat County High School, the script of Morris’s play draws upon tantalizing scraps from the past — both the partially true and the extremely fictional — to create a comedy about what it might have been like to live in a very funny version of Craig during the 1920s.
The play depicts comic crime sprees by two young women, twins, who proclaim that they’re the daughters of Butch Cassidy. All of that is entirely made up. But the play also mentions real historical details, such as what’s sometimes known as “The Great Diamond Hoax,” and it features the First National Bank of Craig — the actual name of the town’s bank in the early 20th century.
But Morris laughed at the thought that this might be a historical play.
“I don’t think Craig was ever like this,” he said, but he added: “I did do a little teeny bit of research and found some local history.”
Randy Looper, who plays a character whose identity is probably best kept secret, described the effect of such a fact-and-fiction concoction.
“That’s what makes it funny — to mix the humor with the actual facts,” said Randy Looper, father to fellow-actor Jeremy Looper.
Marina Mecham plays possibly the toughest character in the play, as wife to Randy Looper’s character.
“She’s kind of mean and nasty, and it’s her way or the highway,” Mecham said, noting the way she — with an actor’s resourcefulness — draws on immediate circumstances to fuel her character’s anger.
“I’m squeezed into that corset and I can’t breathe, so I’m already angry enough as it is,” she said. “I’m a nice person in real life, so (the character is) just like an outlet for all of my screaming.”
Marina’s sister, Moriah Mecham, plays one of Butch Cassidy’s fictional daughters.
“She’s a little bit rough around the edges because she has not been brought up as a well-mannered lady,” Moriah Mecham said after a recent rehearsal. “She’s 15, already trying to steal horses and stuff.”
Also in the cast are Stephanie Duarte, who plays the sheriff, and Riley Johnston, who plays one of Butch Cassidy’s fictional twin daughters.
Faith Christiansen portrays a deputy sheriff in the play — someone whose patience is taxed by her fellow deputy.
“I sympathize a little bit with my character, and the anger it has for this one,” Christiansen said with a laugh, gesturing to Travis Johnson, who plays the other deputy sheriff. “My character has a lot of emotion, especially in my relationship with (him), because in real life we’re actually dating.”
It’s one of several hidden relationships among the cast members, echoing the surprise connections that surface in the characters, as well.
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Next week, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Moffat County are hosting a free day-long seminar for local ranchers and agriculture producers.