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‘Tuna,’ from a whole new angle

Denton Community Theatre is giving audiences a rare chance to experience a play from a spot that’s usually off limits: backstage.

For a donation of $50 or more, patrons can watch Greater Tuna from backstage — which means they’ll hear the dialogue and the audience, director Donna Trammell said, but they’ll get to see the crew and the two actors, Buster Maloney and Justin Harmon, morph from Vera Carp and Bertha Bumiller to Arles Struvie and Harold Lattimer.

Trammell said the backstage seats won’t subject patrons to anything indecent.

“What Buster and Justin have figured out about the Tuna plays, with all of those fast costume changes, is that bicycle shorts are the best,” she said. “The costumes just slide right over them.”

Trammell said the company got the idea for backstage seats after Buster Maloney and his wife, Cindy, had a friend from Connecticut watch the show from backstage last Friday. Cindy Maloney sat with the friend, Trammell said.

“They both had such a good time, and one of the things so many people say when they walk up to us after a show is: ‘I bet the real show is backstage!’”

Maloney and Harmon said they don’t have any misgivings about making those deadly quick changes — removing hats, overalls and boots in exchange for high heels, dress suits and wigs in less than a minute — with onlookers.

“It’s funny, because we’ve talked about it,” Maloney said. “Every time we’ve done a Tuna show, we’ve sat around and said we should sell tickets to backstage. If someone has seen it before, it would be fun to see it this way. Everything looks so smooth on stage, but backstage, everything is just frantic.”

Harmon said he and Maloney will be too busy morphing into their next characters to be self conscious. And no one will get an eyeful.

“Not if we can help it, anyway,” Harmon said. “We want to given them a show, but not that kind.”

To reserve a chair backstage, call the box office at 940-382-1915.

— Lucinda Breeding