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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Thumbs’ gets thumbs up

    Kale Arhdt, left, and Eric Anson rehearse a scene from the play Thumbs.
    Kale Arhdt, left, and Eric Anson rehearse a scene from the play “”Thumbs.””

    When local playwright Gavin Kayner’s production company, Piquant Plays Productions, went looking for a venue to perform his play “”Thumbs,”” Beowulf Alley Theatre Company seemed like a perfect venue due to its intimate size and comfortably pristine new interior.

    The Beowulf Alley Theatre Company, 11 S. Sixth Ave., is a nonprofit professional theater organization that was established in 2001. BATC premiered its first theatrical season in summer 2005 and has quickly created its own niche as a local haven for people who love watching inspiring works. With a 99-seat store-front theater located in the heart of downtown Tucson, BATC’s future as an artist-driven playhouse looks hopeful. Additionally, BATC is proving to be a great place for promising theater students to audition for exciting roles.

    “”I don’t even want to get famous, I just want to do what I love,”” said theater arts junior Kale Arndt about his lead role in “”Thumbs.”” Arndt is also a member of the Charles Darwin Experience, a UA comedy group that performs improvisational skits and written sketches. In “”Thumbs,”” Kale plays Isaac Graber, a college student who has had a rough life growing up.

    “”Through a series of tragic circumstances, Isaac completely loses his connection to his family, girlfriend, friends, the church, school – he loses pretty much everything that’s important in his life,”” Arndt said of his character.

    “”In this troubled mental state, he takes a hatchet and cuts his thumb off. The play itself is a memory play. Isaac sees a psychologist and sorts through his memory, trying to grow and restart his life.””

    A unique aspect of “”Thumbs”” is that the main character is onstage throughout its entirety, which doesn’t make the role an easy one. That said, Arndt describes the hardest element of his performance to be the preparation of his character.

    “”I had to try to understand what it’s like to have nothing left to live for,”” said Arndt.

    Connections between “”Thumbs”” and the UA do not end with Kale.

    Kayner, who is a UA alumnus who got his B.A. in elementary education and M.S. in education administration, said he has been brainstorming “”Thumbs”” since he has been able to think.

    “”It’s a play that addresses everybody’s universal questions – Why are we here? Where are we going?”” Kayner said.

    “”The play is about a 20-something college student who has been brought up without an emotional or religious context and how that affects his life. He loses his sanity at one point and seeks a psychologist. The psychologist has his own dilemma and between the two, they create sparks on the stage. It’s a psychological drama.””

    Save the date for “”Thumbs,”” which will be performed February 9th through the 18th and is sure to ignite a fire among audience members.

    “”It’s a terrific piece of homegrown Tucson theatre,”” Arndt said. “”You can look at it to examine your own life a little, maybe find something about yourself that you’d never thought about.””

    For ticket information call 882-0555. Tickets are $10 for students, $13 in advance and $15 at the door.

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