Pageant Play





For people who are familiar with TLC’s Toddlers in Tiaras—or people who are familiar with the fact that there’s such a thing as child beauty pageants where adults take little girls and dress/paint/shellac them into freakish little doll-people for their own amusement and vicarious sense of importance—the concept that the child pageant world is full of trashy, crazy people is well known.

It should be too sad to watch, but it’s actually pretty funny. And like a train wreck. Like a train wreck full of funny clowns, and all the clowns just keep piling out of the wrecked train like so much Mountain Dew and Red Bull being vomited out by an overly made-up four-year-old with a southern drawl and a superiority complex, while behind her two pageant moms are clawing at each others eyes in a Dynasty-style catfight.

Anyway, if you like that sort of thing, Lost on Main is hosting a special treat for the next couple of weekends: The beautiful mess that is Pageant Play, written by Matthew Wilkes and Mark Setlock.

Half the cast popped in the other day to tell me about it, fresh and bubbly off an interview with KCHO. I deflated their enthusiasm quickly by making them spell everything they said right afterward, because I hate happiness.

What’s it about?

“It’s a black comedy,” said Samantha Perry (who plays Marge, mother to Puddles—played by her real-life five-year-old daughter Penelope in her stage debut). “—not a comedy done in blackface, though.” interjected Erika Sorensen (who plays rival mother, Pinky). “Right,” confirmed Samantha with a nod, “it’s a black comedy done by white people.” Producer/Assistant Director Autumn Jay steered us back, “Just call it a dark comedy, a satirical, farcical, dark comedy.”

The basic story is that there’s this pageant mom, Pinky (so-called because she REALLY likes pink), who is used to always winning—well… having her daughter always win, but what’s the difference, really? Another mom, Marge (so-called because she really likes margarine, I assume), comes on the scene with her daughter Puddles, snatching victory from a much chagrined Pinky. Not one to take this sort of thing lightly, Pinky enlists the help of power couple Bob & Bobby, of “Touch the Sky Finesse Coaching,” to try to take that kid down. The whole thing is set in Texas, and some really dark (and hilarious) shit happens.

An interesting side note: This is one of the first projects to be born in The Barn, so to speak. Since you can’t very well workshop and rehearse this sort of thing in the middle of Starbucks, they took advantage of Craig Blamer’s new artist’s haven. I asked how that was, and after a few jokes about the horror-movie bathroom, they laid thick praise on both the man and the space. While they acknowledged there are still some bugs to be worked out as far as placating cranky neighbors and establishing that it isn’t a hangout for local transients, overall their experience was extremely positive and it made this play possible.

Pageant Play is directed by Alyssa Larsen, and was costumed (to accolades from the cast) by designer Nan Miner. It stars (in no particular order) Erika Sorensen, Samantha Perry, Penelope Perry, Cameron Hoffman, Mark McGinnis, and Autumn Jay. Set design by Shaunna Jones.

Lost On Main

August 14–17 & 21–22

Doors open 7pm, show at 7:30pm


for reservations call (530) 521-2529

for Mature Audiences


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Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.