|Play Combines Santa,
Aliens To Combat Hunger
By ELAINE STOLL
Published on 12/12/2004, New London Day
Mystic - Beginning with a recording of the introduction to “The
Twilight Zone,” Saturday's play at the Union Baptist Church was no ordinary
Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves Micelf and Yurself were joined onstage by
shiny aliens, members of the Santa Secret Service trying to protect Santa
from abduction, and a host of other odd and witty characters - human, bovine
and otherworldly - in “The Gift of the MadGuy.”
Bill Pere, founder and director of the nonprofit Local United Network to
Combat Hunger (LUNCH), wrote the play, which was performed by the LUNCH
Ensemble. The troupe included more than 30 kids who rehearsed for five
weeks. The annual holiday play marked the tenth for the group, whose real
aim is not comedy but charity.
Though Connecticut has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the
country, the number of people needing food has more than doubled since last
year, Pere said in his introduction to the show.
LUNCH aims to combat hunger by raising funds and awareness, and proceeds
from tickets to Saturday's play and preceding holiday music show will
benefit more than two dozen social services agencies throughout the state.
The group's holiday play has traditionally parodied pop culture, and
Saturday's performance included references to “E.T.,” “Men in Black” and
“The Dukes of Hazzard” - the latter in the form of two Dukes of BioHazard,
played by Clark Chapman and Parker Verhoeff.
Those who missed the one-time performance can mark next year's calendar
for Dec. 3, when the LUNCH Ensemble will perform “A Mall and the Night
Visitors,” Pere said - a play wherein the yellow brick road leads to the
Emerald City Mall and the Wonderful Wizard of Claus.
The LUNCH ensemble also performs shows throughout the year, including the
annual “A Tribute to Harry Chapin” scheduled for April 8,2005 at the
University of Hartford.