“Sleeping Giant” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – May 4, 2024


“Sleeping Giant”
Stray Cat Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Stray Cat Theatre has gone through many changes in the last few seasons with mixed results.  For the end of their current season, they have brought back playwright Steve Yockey’s new play “Sleeping Giant.”  He has penned several popular Stray Cat productions including “Mercury,” “Pluto,” “Wolves,” and “Octopus.”

In addition to presenting Yockey’s latest play, Stray Cat’s artistic director Ron May is staging the production after allowing others to put together recent Stray Cat productions.  The result is an inspired topical work with a bizarre plot.  It is filled with characters like you and me dealing with situations which could parallel things happening today while suggesting the extremes to which some people will go.

In “Sleeping Giant,” Ryan presents a spicy marriage proposal but the theatrical event awakens an ancient creature who has been sleeping for generations in a nearby lake.  Local residents become obsessed by the being and anyone who touches it is impacted by weird things.  We should be amazed by the group’s blind following of strange things.

Does this sound like our current political situation?  Might we take pause on how outlandish things can perplex us but cause people to dart off in strange and unacceptable directions.  Could friend be pitted against friend with some ghastly possibilities.

Yockey has filled this horror tale with lots of comic gems that break up the terrible consequences with bright wit.  It makes the impacts of events on these people a bit more tolerable and allows Yockey to make his points distinctly.

Not only is May’s staging sure and steady but he has attracted a winning cast full of new and longtime Stray Cat players to bring these challenging characters to vibrant and believable life.  The four-person acting ensemble play multiple roles making each character distinctive as the actors jump easily and quickly back and forth among the diverse personalities.

Louis Farber heads the cast as The Raconteur making each of his four weirdos acceptably different even though they all stem from the same unusual approaches to life.  Ksjusha Povod plays five feminine roles with spit and polish while Tanner J. Conley handles various male characters who shade the many situations.  Allison Sell brings gifted comic timing and delivery to other bizarre characters.

It is so nice to have Stray Cat Theatre back with a superlative production of a scary new play that should make us all think about our society and the direction we want it to go. “Sleeping Giant” continues through May 18.  To order tickets, call the Stray Cat Theatre box office at 480-350-2822 or order tickets online at www.straycattheatre.org.

Grade: A