“The Many Charms of Symon Tuttle” is a disarming little comedy, set during the Christmas season, that attempts to unravel the complicated relationships between various members of a diverse community all or none of whom may have murdered the mysterious title character for reasons too numerous to describe.
“The Many Charms of Symon Tuttle” begins with John and Brad walking in a park, the later lamenting his recent lack of employment, and coming across the dead body of Symon Tuttle, whom both have met in the past and revealed to the audience by using flashbacks, during one of which we find out spies are involved, and a bitter rivalry for supremacy. The body count slowly rises as our two heroes become enmeshed in nefarious activities and try valiantly to figure things out.
The play is neither bawdy nor naughty; instead, it’s unabashedly and unapologetically irreverent, provocative, confusing, and bloated with meaningful drivel.
The play features Trish Cipoletti; Dan Ferry; its author, Bruce Brown; Pamela Wallace, Scott Van Nortwick; Jake Walbert; Billy Erlacher; and its director, Ara Barlieb.
The show is for an adult audience.
Performances are in The Charles A. Brown Ice House at 730PM December 19-23 and 200 PM December 23.
All tickets are $20.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT, Bruce Brown
"I started my theatrical experiences at the age of seven on the stage of the Seipstown Grange, singing and tap dancing to “Me and My Teddybear.” During the three summer months, the Grange would hold a local talent show and one month, my mother was put in charge. My next appearance occurred in fourth grade where my teacher, Mrs. Peggy Gersitz, would allow a few of us to go to another room by ourselves, and in thirty minutes, come up with something to present to the rest of the class. We did this numerous times. Jump to eighth grade when I participated in the school talent show by reciting a humorous article culled from a Mad Magazine. The show went over so well, that the following year the talent show was presented at night so family and friends could attend. With such a big event, local comedienne Dopey Dunkin was hired to be emcee. I, once again, recited an article from Mad Magazine.
"My first year in high school was also the first year the school did a school play involving all three grades as opposed to each grade doing their own, which had been done previously. Besides being active in choir and the drama club, I participated in “Brigadoon”, “The Music Man”, and “West Side Story”, one each year. As a senior, the drama club advisor, Bernie Schimmel, asked anyone in the club to write a short play to be done solely for the drama club. I did. I was the only one who did. Because of that, Mr. Schimmel gave me a copy of “Hansel and Gretel” and asked me to re-write it, adding a dozen-or-so characters. The play was rewritten and performed to such acclaim it was taken on tour to two elementary schools within the Allentown school district.
"During my senior year and for the year-and-a-half before joining the army in September of 1971, I performed in numerous venues including Munopco, Civic Little Theater, the Jewish Community Center, and Guthsville Playhouse, doing shows like “Pajama Game”, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brody”, and “Man of LaMancha” to name a few. I also attended through scholarship the Young Actor’s Studio at Pennsylvania Playhouse for two years and had the opportunity to perform in “The Nutcracker Suite” with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. It was during this time I got to meet and work with local luminaries such as Bob Kratz, Val Marth, Sammy Smith, Tony Kohl, and Tim Roche.
"The army gave me plenty of opportunity to continue theatre. Where I was stationed in Panama, there was an army run theater and as long as you participated there, you did not have to pull guard duty. In my two-and-a-half years in Panama, I did guard duty once. I did many shows there and at a local theater located in the now-defunct Canal Zone. Highlights during this period include my first major role in “Black Comedy”, followed by Buddy in “Come Blow Your Horn”. My proudest moment came when I received favorable reviews from the Panama media for my portrayal of Motel in “Fiddler on the Roof”. They were present because Tevye was played by the then-current President of Panama’s brother, both from a wealthy, Jewish family.
"Shortly after returning to the states, I reprised the role of Buddy in “Come Blow Your Horn” at Guthsville Playhouse, much to everyone’s amazement, since when I left, I did primarily chorus work, dancing and the occasional line or two.
"More parts came along, but I was itching to do something different. I wanted to direct, but not any old thing. I wanted to take the material by The Firesign Theater from vinyl to the stage. After meeting them in Philadelphia during their 25th anniversary tour, I obtained permission to perform their material and founded the yet-to-be-named theater company, doing exclusively Firesign Theater. In agreement with them, if no admission was charged, no royalties need be paid. All of the shows were free, although donations were accepted. That company lasted five years.
"During the late 80’s I saw my first dinner theater murder mystery. In 1992, I won first place in a dinner theater murder mystery playwriting contest held by The David Group at the Ramada Inn on MacArthur Road. Three years later, having been bitten by the dinner theater murder mystery genre, I formed Come And Guess It Productions, producing and directing plays I had written. Twelve were written and eight were produced before I had to close that company.
"During my tenure with my first company, one member of my troupe was a DJ at WMUH, from Muhlenberg College. He invited me to sit in with him for a show. By June of 1987, I had my FCC license and started broadcasting regularly. I am still there on a weekly basis, covering all musical tastes. In the past, I hosted shows that were all classical, jazz, country/blues, rock and a mixture. For three years I wrote, produced, directed and hosted a children’s show titled “Uncle Frank’s Home”, featuring local personalities, including Joseph Dadona, then mayor of Allentown. One live show, “Uncle Frank’s Mobile Home”, was presented at Godfrey Daniel’s Coffehouse.
"Jump up to seven years ago when I acted in David Mamet’s “November”, my first production with the Crowded Kitchen Players. I have been in almost twenty since then, all of them memorable, for one reason or another. “Symon Tuttle” will be another. The first act was written without a synopsis, which I usually use, while I was in rehab for alcohol addiction. Now, three-and-a-half sober years later, it is ready for viewing."