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‘Strangers On Earth’ A Comedy About Five Friends (Before ‘Friends’)

It might be misleading to call “Strangers on Earth,” opening tonight at the Spokane Civic’s Studio Theatre, a kind of proto-“Friends.”

But the parallels do exist.

This Mark O’Donnell drama-comedy is about two young college graduates from Radcliffe who arrive in New York seeking everything that people go to New York to seek: Fame, fortune and love, not necessarily in that order.

Their lives become intertwined with three men. One is a carpenter, one is a Texas business graduate, and one is an aspiring actor.

These five people have various adventures, of the romantic and career kind. They all become friends, with a small “f.”

This play was about Generation X practically before the term was even coined. It is based on a 1985 short story by O’Donnell, and was first produced in 1989.

The site of that first production might come as something of a surprise: Walla Walla. It was first done in workshop at Whitman College.

A guest director at Whitman College, Kent Paul, was a friend of O’Donnell’s. The Whitman production was a smashing success, and it went on to have another workshop production at the Seattle Repertory Theatre later in 1989.

It had its first off-Broadway production in New York in 1993.

The Firth Chew Studio Theatre production is directed by Pat Owens. The cast is made up of Charlie Driskel, Amy Townsend, Gretchen Oyster, Cheyenne Jackson and Jhon Goodwin.

The show opens tonight and continues Saturday and Feb. 1-3, 8-11 and Feb. 15-17.

All shows begin at 8 p.m. except the Feb. 11 matinee, which is at 2 p.m.

All tickets are $8, available by calling 325-2507.

The Firth Chew Studio Theatre is in the basement of the Spokane Civic Theatre, 1020 N. Howard.

‘Moon Over Mission Dam’

Here’s a chance to experience a staged reading of an important new play dealing with Native American issues.

“Moon Over Mission Dam,” by Victor A. Charlo and Zan Agzigian, will be presented free at The Met on Saturday at 7 p.m.

This is the third staged reading of the play, the other two having been held in Seattle and at The Festival at Bigfork in Montana.

In a staged reading, the actors walk through the scenes with script in hand.

The play is set in the fictitious Buffalo Hat Reservation in Montana in 1972. It deals with a disastrous dam break, the American Indian Movement, and many other contemporary issues on reservations.

The lead character is Woody Loon, who comes back the reservation after five years spent building saunas in Marin County, Cal.

Agzigian is a Spokane poet and playwright who has been involved in theater and poetry in Seattle, Spokane and Montana. Charlo, a Salish Indian, is a graduate of Gonzaga University and a resident of Dixon, Mont. He is a writer and a counselor.

The staged reading will be acted by the Open to All Possibilities Players, an all-Native acting troupe co-founded by Charlo and Agzigian in 1989. Tony Higheagle will play Woody.

Well-known area musician Jim Boyd will provide cedar flute music to “accentuate scenes and add to the mood of the play,” according to Agzigian.

This free production is sponsored by the American Indian Studies Program at Eastern Washington University, the Cheney Cowles Museum and The Met.

Musical revue benefits theater

Repair work continues at the fire-damaged Lake City Playhouse in Coeur d’Alene, but you can help by attending “The Sounds of Andrew Lloyd Webber.”

This musical revue is a benefit to help rebuild the theater. It will feature Barbara Peterson, Lorna Hamilton, Darcy Wright, Jeff Waggoner, J.J. Jorgenson and others. The director is Michael Feitson, who directed “Into the Woods.”

The show will be held at The Harding Center, 411 N. 15th St., Coeur d’Alene.

A minimum donation of $10 is requested. Call (208) 667-1323 for information and reservations. The show opens tonight and continues Saturday and Sunday, and Feb. 2 and 3. All shows are at 8 p.m., except for the Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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