Theatre Review: Escanaba in Da Moonlight

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

This play is set in a remote hunting lodge in Michigan’s upper peninsula – a place where middle-aged men in furry caps and muddy boots hang out with their buddies, and women rarely intrude. It’s all about deer hunting and beer, and it begins like this. 

“Hey, I was driving up to camp tonight, and I had one of those things.”

“One of those things?” 

“You know, one of those things you get when you’re driving. You know. Whatdya call em?”


Hunters, of course, are notoriously superstitious, and these hunters drink a strange Indian potion, and chugging it from a Mason jar, hoping it will help them bag a buck. Here’s part of the recipe.

 “Next, take twelve large earthworms, baked on a shovel, the gizzard of a red squirrel, four ounces of strained muletail sweat, 100 finely crushed black flies, a pinch of dirt, and the dried and powdered left testicle of a fully grown moose. Chill and serve.” 

You get the idea. Some plays put you in touch with your inner child. “Escanaba” puts you in touch with your inner adolescent, who chortles when this play veers into a monumental episode of flatulence. . . just imagine a character like Paul Bunyan overdosing on canned beans. “Escanaba” is kind of a raunchy northwoods version of the Beverly Hillbillies. And it’s funny, watching these guys guzzle down yucky stuff and laugh at their outhouse jokes.

"Escanaba in Da Moonlight" continues at the B Street Theatre through April 13th.