World premiere of 'Dinner Before Dawn' Friday

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  • Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald - Heather (Holly Peterson, right) makes a scene, while Kevin (Nick Mahaney, left) doesn't pay attention. Diner owner Delilah (Patty Jardine, center), however, is outraged in the Masquers production of 'Dinner Before Dawn,' opening Friday.

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    Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald - Gabriella (Emma Russell) hides behind the menu to keep from getting caught where she shouldn’t be in the Masquers production of ‘Dinner Before Dawn,’ opening Friday.

  • Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald - Heather (Holly Peterson, right) makes a scene, while Kevin (Nick Mahaney, left) doesn't pay attention. Diner owner Delilah (Patty Jardine, center), however, is outraged in the Masquers production of 'Dinner Before Dawn,' opening Friday.

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    Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald - Gabriella (Emma Russell) hides behind the menu to keep from getting caught where she shouldn’t be in the Masquers production of ‘Dinner Before Dawn,’ opening Friday.

SOAP LAKE — The curtain will go up Friday on the world premiere of a comedy about right and wrong choices – on the diner menu and in life – at the Masquers Theater. “Dinner Before Dawn” is the first play written by Masquers players Andrew Covarrubias and Theresa Freeman.

The play is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 and 23, and Sept. 29 and 30. Matinees are 2 p.m. this Sunday, and at 2 p.m. on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1.

“It's about a bunch of people who come to this diner at 1 a.m. because it's the only place open at 1 a.m.,” Covarrubias said. “Each table has its own story, and eventually all the stories come together in a way none of them expected.”

Heather and Kevin (Holly Peterson and Nick Mahaney) have a new baby, and Kevin is much too interested in his career. Michael (Chris Longstreet) is going through a divorce and isn't coping too well. His friend Patches (Darryl Pheasant) tries to give him advice, but just ends up telling more of his tall tales.

And it's high school prom night. Madison (Allison Pheasant) just wants her sci-fi and fantasy-obsessed boyfriend Tyler (David Brush) to express his affection in a language other than Klingon. Gabriella (Emma Russell) is a good girl trying to go bad, and her boyfriend Joey (Adam Zaleski) is a bad choice indeed. Wait – isn't Gabriella supposed to be babysitting for Heather and Kevin?

Diner owner Delilah (Patty Jardine) has been in business for a quarter-century, but has never seen a crew quite like this. And the waitress Ruth (Allison Aguilar) might just find something good in the middle of the night.

The play is “a comedy-mystery. But it's a little light on the mystery,” Covarrubias said. But any mystery needs a detective or two, and Evans (Karen Becker) and Bones (Bevan Olstad) are on the case.

Freeman and Covarrubias have performed in many Masquers productions, and it was a post-performance conversation with a waitress that gave them the idea for the play, he said.

It was late, they stopped at Shari's after the play, and were talking with the waitress about theater and acting. She suggested they write a play about a late-night restaurant. “That kind of got the creative juices flowing.” Before dinner was over “we had a rough outline of who our characters were,” he said.

If writing is a new role, so is directing. Covarrubias is the director; “It's a much, much bigger job than acting,” he said, but rewarding. As an actor he can focus on his own role, but as the director, he's responsible for the look of the entire show.

Opening night tickets are $10 per person. All other performances are $14 per person for general admission, $10 per person for seniors and students. They can be purchased at the Masquers website, www.masquers.com, or reserved by calling the box office, 509-246-2611.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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