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Actors Guild of Parkersburg tackles politics with ‘The Outsider’

PARKERSBURG — The latest offering from the Actors Guild of Parkersburg will stream live this weekend, just in time for Election Day.

A seven-member cast will present “The Outsider,” a comedy about an unlikely lieutenant governor thrust into his state’s highest office, on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon under the direction of Dixie Showalter.

“It’s a very good comedy about elections,” Showalter said. “Everybody kind of needs something to laugh about.”

The performance will take place on the Actors Guild stage in downtown Parkersburg, but, as safety efforts continue during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, audiences will be able to watch from home. Tickets are $18 per device and can be ordered online at actors-guild.com under the “Buy Tickets” link.

The nearly two-hour performance tells the story of Ned Newley, reluctantly thrust into the limelight after the governor of his unnamed state is “relieved of his job because of an affair he’s had,” Showalter said.

Where recent Guild performances have been reminiscent of radio plays, including a Zoom-based production of “Clue,” this one will have the cast back on stage. They’ll still be carrying scripts but there will be “a lot more movement,” said Actors Guild veteran Charlie Matthews, who stars as Ned.

“We have chairs, but they’re in a semi-circle, and then we try to get some blocking and use some props … all the while trying to keep social distancing as best we can,” he said.

Matthews said it’s been a fun production to prepare and the timing is perfect.

“I don’t think we could get much closer to the election,” he said.

The cast also includes Jaliyah Townsend as pollster Paige, Joe Reeves as Ned’s assistant Dave, Seth Fearnow as political consultant Arthur Vance, Betty Dotson as political reporter Rachel, Mike Dotson as cameraman A.C. and Julie Keller as receptionist Louise.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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