Rainforest Players return for first show since RAC fire

By Joe Smillie Forum Editor


For the first time since a fire burned their former theatrical home in the Rainforest Arts Center, the Rainforest Players will put on a show for their fans in the West End.


“We’re baaaaack,” Player Ellen Matheny said.


The Rainforest Players will give three performances of a dramatized reading of A.A. Milne’s “Mr. Pim Passes By,” in a temporary spot at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources conference room next weekend.


“We wanted to make sure that just because we lost our theater, we’ve been very active and we’re still planning productions,” Matheny said.


The Rainforest Players previously performed in the Rainforest Arts Center, which burned Oct. 29, 2012.


Next week’s performance will be the first in the temporary home, which leaves some challenges for production, Matheny said.


“It’s gonna work just fine. You do what you have to do to make it work,” Matheny said.


“Mr. Pim” will be read by the players off scripts. They will wear costumes and use some props to stage the reading.


Instead of a stage, the production will be in front of the audience at floor level, with a few lights to help dramatize the production, Matheny said.


The 1920s-era comedy centers around the character of Mr. Pim who appears out of nowhere and turns this proper British household into utter turmoil.


Longtime Rainforest Players member Lela Kriebel directs the production.


The city is currently designing a replacement for the center using an insurance settlement of $2.7 million.


The Players last week announced they had offered $35,000 to buy the lot on the corner of Division Street and Forks Avenue from Alaska Financial Services, who bought the lot after it was foreclosed from Dazzled by Twilight.


The lot is next to the RAC lot. The players intend to donate the lot to the city to incorporate into the new RAC design if they can acquire it.


The lot was formerly the home of Olympic Pharmacy and later the Fern Gallery and Dazzled By Twilight.


Warren Brown, a member of the players’ board of directors, reported last week they had received a counter offer of $71,000. The lot was listed initially for $74,500.


The two sides are still in negotiations.


The city council in May agreed to rebuild a new arts center at its former location.


In July, the council selected architecture firm NAC of Seattle from 10 bidders to design the new building.


Fleck said the city plans to have three potential designs for the new building ready to unveil at the annual Harvest Dinner during Homecoming on Sept. 27, meaning the city would have to know soon how or if it will incorporate this lot in the building’s design.


The DNR venue is located at 411 Tillicum Lane, Forks. Performances will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Each night.


Admission is by donation and the story is suitable for all ages.

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