By Ben Olson
This weekend and next, my original play “Death of a Small Town in the West” will be playing at the Panida Theater’s main stage.
It actually started as a novel, but one wild night in 2009, I threw the whole months-long effort into the trash, dug out my typewriter and started punching the keys from scratch. One hour turned into two. Night fell and I was still churning through the pages. By 8 a.m. the next morning, with a stack of manuscript pages to show for it, I had completed the 13-hour marathon session. To date, it remains my most painful, yet most rewarding writing experience.
Weaving inside Sandpoint jokes with absurd, dark comedic events, “Death” tells the story of a town wooed by an out-of-town developer who seeks to bulldoze the entire downtown corridor so that he can rebuild it in his image. A group of disgruntled locals decide to fight back. It involves dynamite, mutants, nerve gas, bureaucracy, land rapers and the doomed democratic process.
Directed by Madeline Elliott, co-written by Chris Herron, and featuring a cast of some of Sanpdoint’s favorite actors, “Death” is sure to entertain — but it’s not for everyone. There is a healthy mix of adult language and situations, and a sense of humor is required, otherwise you’ll have no fun whatsoever.
“Death of a Small Town in the West” will play at the Panida Theater on Jan. 26-27 and again the following weekend of Feb. 2-3. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m. You can get tickets in advance for $10 each at Eichardt’s Pub, Eve’s Leaves or Panida.org. They will also be available for $12 at the door.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Sandpoint Reader, as well as the theater production company Unknown Locals.
I hope to see you all there!