When I Googled Sumner on the net, I saw that Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest was playing at The Sumner Performing Arts Center. We love the play, but had never heard of the group The ManeStage Theatre Company. We took a chance.
The Sumner Performing Arts Center has 800 seats. It's beautiful and even has stages on either side like the Seattle Children's Theatre does. When I saw a butler opening the door for each patron I assumed that this was a promotion for two other upcoming plays: The Butler Did It and What the Butler Saw. That's what happens when we assume. We are usually wrong. The butler was to get everyone in the mood for this play, The Importance of Being Earnest. He was a cast member.
When I attend a play by a production group I am unfamiliar with . . . and sometimes very familiar with . . . I worry about the audio. Will the actors be able to project? If they use microphones will they work correctly and how many of the actors will have one. An 800 seat theatre made me worry even more.
The opening lines erased all problems. The audio was a little "hot," but that was quickly adjusted and it was off to the races. Peg and I have seen Earnest a number of times, but I must say this was the most enjoyable production I've seen. Although a well written farce, quite often the play is produced with the reins pulled back. The director this time let the horses take the lead and possibly whipped them to boot. The results were hilarious and quite enjoyable from leaping about the furniture to a food fight. Looking over the cast credits I saw no one I recognized, but rather it looks like a repertory theater with a revolving cast.
The plot has two gentleman friends squabbling like siblings. By the end of the play we (and they) find out that they are in fact brothers. All the actors with major roles did an excellent job. The audience laughed and applauded in all the right places. Peg and I had a great time . . . isn't that why we attend?
After the play we drove a few blocks to Fred Meyer's and Farrelli's Pizza. Normally, I wouldn't dine out at a chain for our adventures, but Farrelli's is a local chain. They have good food. The Sumner Farrelli's is actually larger than our favorite in Tacoma. Peg and I shared a chop-chop salad and nachos. We forgot to request no jalapeńos. Peg had to pick her's off. I like a little heat. The salad had chopped kalamata olives, which Peg hates, but being chopped they worked for her and she enjoyed the salad. Since it was Sunday, so it was Happy Hour prices all day long. The tab was very reasonable including a Blue Moon and a Mike's Hard Lemonade.
Peg I read local hand-outs, talked, and relaxed until Peg who was facing the door exclaimed, "Look! There's Miss Prism." She was correct.
Miss Prism was a character in The Importance of Being Earnest. The character was played by Shelleigh-Mairi Ferguson. This was her tenth performance at the ManeStage. From Shelleigh-Mairi we learned that the ManeStage does both straight plays and musicals, but usually have higher attendance with musicals.
In the credits I saw that Shelleigh-Mairi played Mrs. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice - The Musical. I've never seen a musical version of Pride & Prejudice. I will have to keep my eyes open for more ManeStage productions. They are doing a musical version of Peter Pan this summer, so it sounds like a grandchild outing to me.
The local performance we saw in Sumner was a complete surprise . . . a very nice surprise.
On Monday morning I drove back to Main Street. Berryland had quite a few people in the café, while KC's did not, but then KC's is open seven days a week. I walked into Berryland, got a warm welcome and took a seat. My waiter, Mike listened to my order and questioned my request for "burnt, burnt, burnt hashbrowns . . . with an onion cut up in them." Mike asked, "Are you looking for them crispy or really burnt . . . because I can bring them out black if you want." He seemed like he had gone through this routine before, so against my better judgment I said, "Crispy." Mike delivered my chicken fried steak, eggs, toast and hashbrowns. There was one major good surprise and two problems. The good surprise was the rhubarb-raspberry jam for the toast. It was incredible.
One of the problems was the steak. It was crispy and really hot on the inside and never seemed to get cooler. This means microwave. I hate paying for microwaved food. I could have made that myself in the microwave at the cottage. My second problem was . . . guess what . . . the hashbrowns. The onions were indeed cut up in with the hashbrowns, but they were only a little brown and certainly not crispy.
Mike stopped over and asked how everything was. I didn't mention the microwaved steak, but did mention the hashbrowns. He offered to replace them. I replied, "No, that's okay, but I could use some more jam." He first went back to the kitchen and told the cook that the hashbrowns weren't as I ordered them. I don't think the cook was happy. There was a brief exchange of remarks. The cook's louder than the waiter's. Mike returned with some rhubarb-blackberry jam and again offered to replace the hashbrowns. I had already eaten as much as I wanted anyway . . . except for the newly delivered jam . . . so again I declined the offer for replacement hashbrowns.
I made one adjustment though. I bought a jar of rhubarb-blackberry jam to go. The freezer jam will go good on French toast, waffles, or possibly even Madagascar vanilla ice cream. Oh, yeah. I plan ahead.
When I placed my original order I had asked for an espresso to go and mentioned that my wife was still in bed. In addition to the coffee I now ordered a slice of rhubarb pie to go. Mike asked what flavor, so I said, "Surprise me." He replied, "Vanilla-Caramel?" I nodded my head in the affirmative. "Whipped cream?" "Nope," I said. He produced a clamshell with the pie and he mentioned the gave me a little extra.
I took the espresso and the pie home (back to the cottage). I left Peg with the coffee, which she really liked and even asked the flavor. After a while the rhubarb pie kept calling to me. Peg mentioned she had sampled the crust. When I opened it up a little piece of crust was gone and I didn't see any extra goodies . . . oh, well. Easy come, easy go.
We spent the next forty-five minutes packing and picking up, almost leaving and finally leaving. Peg decided she wanted lunch, so it was back to Berryland. Mike greeted us and asked Peg, "You got up." Thank you, Mike. I ordered a side of toast and a biscuit. Peg ordered a BLT and bean soup. Mike then asked what I wanted, I replied again, "A side of toast and a biscuit."
A few minutes later we had Peg's BLT, a cup of soup, and a biscuit for me, but no side of toast. I really just wanted the jam anyway, but it was a good sized biscuit and more pan baked than cookie sheet baked. I asked for more butter. The biscuit was really hot. My guess, again was microwave. I hate re-heated food. I gave Peg a piece of biscuit and jam and she gave me most of her sandwich. She didn't like the bacon. It wasn't as crispy as she likes. I really liked Mike the waiter. He tried so hard. When I asked to take his photograph, he opened up his hoodie to show the Berryland Café Tee. He had been
quick to make amends and would have about the toast as well. It all comes down to attitude, which can get you out of almost any jam . . . especially if there is rhubarb involved.
We had a very nice time in Sumner and are already making plans to return. There's a used book store we would like to explore, a little Italian restaurant that looked interesting, and an ice cream place with rhubarb smoothies? OMG! The taste of rhubarb pie is still on the back of my tongue . . . and I have a jar of rhubarb-blackberry jam calling to me.