Peninsula College will host a two-day Readers Theater on Saturday and Sunday, May 18 and 19, as part of the “Raymond Carver Festival: A Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of His Birth on May 25.” Both will feature local readers directed by Jim Guthrie.
The Saturday Theater will begin at 7:00 pm, and the Sunday performance will begin at 2:00 pm. Both will be staged in Maier Performance Hall on the college’s main campus in Port Angeles.
The Readers Theater will include adaptations from the Raymond Carver stories “Fat,” “Distance,” “Elephant,” and “One More Thing.” The performers are Leif Ellis, Jim Guthrie, Janet Lucas, Sherie Maddox, John Manno, John Marrs, and Emma Sackett.
This is Guthrie’s third adaptation of Carver’s stories in a readers theater format. After retiring from a 41-year journalism career, he turned to his avocation― theater―and one of his first projects was adapting five of Raymond Carver's stories into a readers theater presentation: "The World of Raymond Carver: From Gazebos to Cathedrals," referring to two of the one-word titled stories in the show.
"That was in 2001, and I had read just about all of Carver’s stories," Guthrie says.
For Peninsula College's 75th anniversary celebration of Carver's birthday, Guthrie has adapted four stories. "If people don't recognize 'Distance’,” Guthrie says, "that was Carver's original title for what his editor changed to
'Everything Stuck to Him' in the collection of stories, 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.'
"We're using Carver's original manuscript for 'Distance' and also for 'One More Thing.' To me, the stories are richer and more true to life before the editor got his hands on them."
Guthrie also has adapted Shakespeare into "Hamlet Goes West," a send-up of the G.W. Bush administration. His short play, "The Goose Hangs High," was accepted for performance by the prestigious Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Alaska.
Leif Ellis is a hip-hop artist who made his theatrical debut last year in PC’s annual one-act play festival.
Jim Guthrie (adaptor/director) was too shy to meet Raymond Carver. Jim has, however, used Carver’s typewriter. This is Jim’s third adaptation of Carver’s stories in a readers’ theater format. Jim once wrote a column in the Peninsula Daily News about encountering the ghosts of Carver and John Cage in the woods at Lincoln Park. Jim covets Ray’s iconic leather jacket.
Janet Lucas, a professor of writing and literature at Peninsula College, is enjoying a return to theater. Her first foray onstage was as a teenager with the Port Angeles Community Players in The Crucible. She co-directs the Foothills Writers Series and writes creative nonfiction, poetry, and scholarly articles. She has a daughter, son, cat, and husband and spends her spare moments enjoying her front porch in sunny Sequim.
Sherie Maddox lives in Port Angeles where she enjoys homeschooling her two daughters. She has been a reader for several productions with both Peninsula College and the Port Angeles Community Players, and she also played Queen Gertrude in Jim Guthrie’s Hamlet Goes West.
John Manno lives in Port Angeles. He is an actor, musician, and director, who has been involved in classical music since he was six years old, and with theatre since 2000. He recently organized the 24-Hour Theatre Project at Peninsula College. Locally, he has been seen in such productions as "The 39 Steps" at the Port Angeles Community Playhouse, and "Neighborhood 3" at Peninsula College.
John Merton Marrs owns a bar of soap Raymond Carver removed from a motel room, as well as a collection of scripts from roles he has performed in Port Angeles; Sequim; Kenai, Alaska; and San Luis Obispo, CA. He lives in retirement at Lake Sutherland.
Emma Sackett is a full-time student at Peninsula College and is pursuing an AA transfer degree. She is active in leadership and wants to use her education and gifts to make a positive difference in this beautiful world we are privileged to live in.