The Play Featuring a Cast Of Toys
At a house in Lakewood last week, playwrights Mike Geither and Amy Schwabauer performed their play, “The Events of the Warren County Fair as Observed by a Young Astronaut.”
They’ve been working on the play for about a year and a half, and started touring with it last fall. It features a hefty cast – who were mostly discovered at local thrift stores.
“All our characters are vintage toys or found objects,” explained Schwabauer. “For example, I play a wrench, who’s a mechanic.” The play also features two porcelain goldfinches, a sword-wielding action figure, and a corkscrew.
Using toys and small objects allows the performers to expand their unconventional theatrics, said Schwabauer. “Because it is a miniature scale, the table is the perfect surface for it. It creates a stage. We’ve performed on so many different tabletops,” she said.
Their actors are toys, their stage is a table, and they even have stage lighting, said Geither. "The lighting has been just little flashlights, little adaptable lights for working on cars,” he said.
The scale of this play also gives them a unique advantage for touring, said Schwabauer. “We have an entire play that can fit into two boxes,” she said. “And we can take it anywhere.”
And that’s the point. Because this is a play that’s meant to travel – not to theaters, but to homes.
“To me, what makes it the most fun is going into houses and introducing this little tiny play there,” said Geither.
In the play, a diverse group of small-town characters – each with their own intriguing backstories -- converge at a county fair. It’s a story good enough to make you forgive – or even forget – that fact that you’re watching toys, according to Schwabauer.
“Because the story is a well-crafted story, everything works then,” she said. “If this story was just blah and you didn’t care about it then you’re not going to care about these toys. You’re not going to invest in them. So it’s like any other play.”