For the week of December 2 thru December 8, 1998  

The proud, the pure, the Plaid


By MARILYN BAUER
Express Staff Writer

A Plaid always carries a clean white handkerchief and makes sure his shoes are shined. He treats the audience with respect, always remains humble and never, ever sacrifices the sound for a joke.

He’s one of the good guys; the type who helped the teacher wheel in the projector carts with the driver’s ed films and who, if by some miracle he made it to first base, didn’t tell a soul.

"I’m a Plaid," said David Blampied, who along with Russ Kirk, Paul Stoops and Eric Larson, makes up the fab foursome who kick-ass in the after life in New Theatre Company’s production of "Forever Plaid"

On Dec. 5-7 and Dec. 10-13 starting at 8 p.m. at the Sun Valley Boiler Room, formerly the Ore House, the cast will rock, roll, reminisce, harmonize and strategize for their big night at the Fusel Lounge at the Airport Hilton.

"It’s about four guys from the AV lab who get together in their parents plumbing supply store to work on their sound," said Blampied, who is also the company’s artistic director. "It’s the early ‘60s, the time of the four-part guy group. The Plaids think there’s a chance of this sound coming back then they’re booted out of the picture by rock and roll."

Here’s the premise: The four guys who have taken an oath of plaid, (A Plaid never steals a scene from another Plaid," intones Blampied, forever in his role as Sparky) a sort of one for all, all for one lounge lizard a la victoire.

They work on their act, loving the music and each other and finally get a gig in Shamokin, Penn. In the bus, on the way, they are snuffed out mid coda, by what Blampied refers to as a "yellow bus of parochial virgins."

Ironically, the virgins are on their way to see the Beatles’ debut on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964.

But through a hole in the ozone layer and some "astro technical stuff" these wild and crazy guys come back to do the show they never got to do in life.

"It’s a time warp type of thing," explained Blampied. They’re 18 emotionally, but it’s 50 years later. The play is about this moment in time; about friendship and believing in what you do when you’re doing it. The Plaids get to tell their story while presenting the music of the time. These are four voices that worked to make something happen whether in the plumbing store or the Shamokin Hilton."

"Love is a Many Splendored Thing," "Three Coins in the Fountain" and "Moments to Remember" are all familiar to the cast, who say they grew up watching Ed Sullivan on Sunday night.

"We looked at our senior pictures and said, ‘Oh my God, we are Plaid,’" laughed Blampied. "The proud, the pure, the plaid. But the play is not saccharine sweet by any stretch of the imagination. It’s got a real feel of reality. It really gets into your system."

Blampied picked "Forever Plaid" as the company’s holiday message.

"It’s a warm fuzzy," he said. "I wanted to start the season with a reason to be thankful. It’s a wonderful play that teaches us to thankful for what we have not what we don’t have."

To the characters and the cast, the music is the thing. Larson is a bass player seen out in town with groups like the Joe Fos Trio and Joe Macarillo. Stoopes is a trombone player who sings in a local chorus and also works as a free-lance engineer. Kirk, who now lives in San Diego, sings in barbershop quartets and choirs and is also a lawyer. Blampied has been singing and swinging all his life.

"I just love it," he said.

"Forever Plaid," directed by Patty Parsons, also features the music of Joe Fos, Jeff Rew, Ted Dyer and Dorinda Rendahl.

Tickets are on sale, $15 for adults and $10 for children under 18, at Chapter One in Ketchum, Read All About It in Hailey and at the Sun Valley Resort. For further information, call 726-2271.

 

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