I’ve loved dummies for as long as I can remember. (The dummies of which I speak are, of course, those dolls which serve as expressive props for clever ventriloquists – absolutely none of those people I love could be classified as dummies.) When I was a little kid, my family gathered around the radio to laugh at Charlie McCarthy, the wooden alter ego of famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Although my admiration for the classic comedy act was somewhat diminished when I actually saw Edgar Bergen on TV, as his mouth moved when Charlie talked - an unfortunate trait that could not be detected when listening to the radio - that enthusiasm for Charlie McCarthy was apparently passed on to the next generation.
One memorable Christmas when our son was in elementary school, his Christmas list was topped by an ardently desired Charlie McCarthy doll he saw pictured in the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalogue. However, upon ordering, we discovered that Charlie was not available for shipment until January; we enlisted family and friends and searched far and wide for another source for our son’s heart’s desire to arrive in time for Christmas morning, but to no avail. However, when the wide-eyed Charlie arrived in January, our wide-eyed son’s joy provided a warm and wonderful extension of the spirit of Christmas within our household. (Although I must admit that always being watched by Charlie’s wide-open eyes when entering our son’s bedroom at any hour of the day or night was kind of creepy.)
Our family enjoyed the ventriloquists and their dummies of early TV. We raptly watched the Paul Winchell Show featuring Jerry Mahoney; we liked Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop and her other charming characters. Heck, we even liked Senor Wences and the puppet he drew on his hand for the Ed Sullivan Show. Of course, the puppets are only as enjoyable as their creator’s creativity can make them, but I am a sucker for dummies. Therefore, I am really, really looking forward to DCCA’s upcoming Coffeehouse Series show.
Ventriloquist Lynn Trefzger will bring her comedic talents and her trunk full of zany characters to The Bistro Off Broadway on Thursday, February 7. Lynn’s vocal illusions are impressive; (she’s never had the opportunity to let her abilities slide while performing unseen for an audience listening to the radio.) And she does not limit herself to dummies made of wood or cloth or her hand. Prospective audience members be forewarned – Lynn could make a dummy out of you. One of the highlights of her shows occurs when Lynn brings volunteers on stage to participate in the performance; the human dummies are amazed and amused by the witty words apparently emanating from their mouths.
Lynn’s main sidekick, Simon, can be funny or exasperating, as is true of all good dummies; other characters include Camelot, a lazy camel, Emily, a moppet interested in shopping, dating, and clothes, and Judd Wapner, a cranky old man whose facial expressions alone can set audiences to giggling uncontrollably. Lynn, a bright and inventive entertainer, has been featured on television shows, performed in theaters around the country as well on cruise ships and at college campuses, and has won several awards for her comedic talents.
This show will be a lot of fun for the entire family; to get your tickets, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or www.centerforarts.net. The show starts at 7 p.m. And if you’d like to enjoy dinner at the Bistro prior to your meal, make your reservations now by calling 937-316-5000.
Marilyn Delk is a Director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.