Greater Tuna: A Theater Production Full of Laughs

Moeller’s advertisement poster for Greater Tuna  Photo by Tanner Hughes

Moeller’s advertisement poster for Greater Tuna

Photo by Tanner Hughes

Mixed among many of Moeller's outstanding clubs is the theater program. Every year they produce two plays, the first of the 2018-2019 school year is Greater Tuna. Greater Tuna is a comedy written by Aston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard in 1981. This comedy is set in Tuna, Texas, a small country town. Mr. Hotze, the French teacher at Moeller, is the head of the theater program, and has been for many years.

Jack Shimrock, a senior at Moeller, was extremely excited when Mr. Hotze approached him about playing one of five roles in the production, Greater Tuna. Shimrock had participated in a play at Moeller during his freshmen year as an extra, "I have always wanted to get involved in theater, but with my work schedule I was never able to get into it. Mr. Hotze told me he would work around my schedule and I said yes immediately."

Jack Otton, also a senior at Moeller, has been involved in theater throughout his entire Moeller career, but never onstage. Otton worked with the tech crew. Mr. Hotze also approached Otton to step out of his comfort zone and have a role in this production.

Greater Tuna is unlike other productions Moeller's theater program has put on. Besides the fact it is a comedy which adds extra pressure to ensure laughs from the audience, there was only 4 weeks to prepare. Five total actors and actresses had to memorize all of their lines. Each actor/actress had multiple different roles throughout the play, making it even more difficult with costume changes added on. "The hardest part of being in theater is always memorizing your lines. In a typical Moeller production, the actors are given at least six weeks to learn their lines, we only had 4," claimed Otton.

Notes and script actor Jack Shimrock had to memorize  Photo by Tanner Hughes

Notes and script actor Jack Shimrock had to memorize

Photo by Tanner Hughes

For Otton and Shimrock, the nerves of being onstage in front of a sold out crowd were seemingly nonexistent. The crowd for the production Greater Tuna was just as expected. The seats were nearly filled for every performance. "We worked so hard and put so much time and effort into perfecting this play that I knew we had it down," said Shimrock. "Of course you are worried someone will miss a cue or forget a line in the beginning, but when everything gets going, we are all just having fun on stage. To hear the crowd laugh knowing it all payed off was an amazing feeling"

The two actors were in agreement on their favorite part of Moeller theater, "Being in theater allows you to make connections with the ones around you in a special way. You have to rely on them and trust them so that you can also do your job. Having my sister in Greater Tuna by my side was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was very special," stated Shimrock, whose sister Natalie also had a role in the play. Natalie is a freshmen at Mount Notre Dame.

After all of the hard work, Greater Tuna was a massive success. Continuous laughter was drawn from the sold out crowd. There were no mishaps throughout the entire production. The countless hours practicing and memorizing was evident. Mr. Hotze and the Moeller theater team organized another success as they always do.

Tanner Hughes