BY CHANTELLE SUMMERS
For the Journal
BLACKFOOT — Loosely based on Washington Irving’s classic short story Rip Van Winkle, the Blackfoot Community Players of the Nuart Theater wrapped up their run of “Awakening: A Story of Kip Van Winkle” Monday night.
Written by Thomas Hischak, Katherine “Kip” Van Winkle is a disgruntled foster child living in the 50s who feels as though she is unloved and doesn’t belong anywhere. After hearing voices, she falls asleep on her favorite mountain and awakens 15 years later in the 70s to find she still feels out of place.
“It’s about her journey into acceptance,” said firsttime director Cory Potter.
KayDee Isom, who plays the younger Kip, said she’s enjoyed her character because she’s “never played grumpy or depressed [roles] before.”
“Plays are just fun because you can be somebody else. You get to show a different side,” she said. Potter said his directorial debut has had its shares of ups and downs, but for the most part “it’s been a blast.” The cast of 18 came together through a combination of auditions and word-of-mouth.
Potter described his play as more of a serious drama than a feel-good play.
Jake Pendlebury, who plays the older Quinn Holmes, said he’s always done comedies. “Kip Van Winkle” has given him the chance to stray from his usual roles.
“I’m more of a serious character in this play — more mushy,” he said.
The Nuart was built in 1930, said owner Larry Christian.
He explained the art deco-style theater was originally set up for stage performances and the vaudeville type acts that would come through Blackfoot by train. They’d then move onto Idaho Falls and West Yellowstone.
“That’s when the (railroad) tracks went all the way through,” he said.
About the mid-1940s, Christian said the theater was converted into a movie house. It changed hands several times before being turned over to the Blackfoot Community Players in the late 80s.
“We converted it back into a theater and we try to have five to six plays a year,” he said.
The Nuart has been restored to its original glory through the help of grants over the years. A new roof, freshly-painted lobby and updates to the tiles and marquee have made the historic landmark as good as new.
The non-profit organization has a board of directors who decides which plays will show throughout the year. Local directors have the chance to submit their plays to the BCP who then choose the finalists for the upcoming season.
Christian said the board is currently putting together the 2013-2014 season.
The last play of this season is the Carol Burnett Review, which is “a group of about five or six Carol Burnett skits,” he said.
Show dates are to be announced at this time due to scheduling conflicts, said Christian.