Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, written by Mitch Albom (yes, the same one that wrote Tuesdays With Morrie), is currently playing at Cumberland County Playhouse. A touching story, disguised as a comedy, Duck Hunter was nothing I expected it to be. I expected a crazy ridiculous comedy. I came away with a story that made my heart happy and sad all at the same time. I should have known. After all, the person who wrote Tuesdays With Morrie couldn’t have written anything less than a story that makes you want to get out a box of tissues, right?
Sandy, a former “legitimate” reporter, is now working for a tabloid paper called The Weekly World and Globe. Which is published bi-weekly. Living in New York City, he admits that he works for a paycheck and writes “crap.” His boss, Lester, is young, rich and amazingly pushy. When a tip comes to their office that a man in Alabama says he thinks he’s shot an angle, Lester sends Sandy, and photographer Lenny on their way in spite of Sandy’s protests that the South makes him break out.
Sandy and his photographer Lenny, head to Alabama in hopes of finding (or making up) a story for their paper. What Sandy finds instead is his past, some life lessons, and family he didn’t know existed. Along the way you meet duck hunting brothers Duane and Duwell, played with comedic hilarity by Bobby Taylor and Jason Ross. Both brothers are convinced they’ve shot and killed an angel. You meet Kansas, a young girl who works in a convenience store and has plans to go to college. You meet, in a round about way, the girl from Sandy’s past that manages to haunt his current thoughts.
Sandy is played by Daniel Black and Lenny by Michael Ruff. Both do a great job of showing how easy it is to make judgments based on more than skin color. I, myself, have been on the receiving end of snap judgments based on the way I talk or where I’m from. Ruff’s Lenny gives a great lesson to Sandy when he reminds him that even though Sandy may not make judgments based on skin color, he still divides people into groups and puts himself in a “better than” category.
Throughout the show you get good laughs. In fact, until the last ten minutes or so, I really thought that’s what the show was: a great comedy. But that last little bit had me leaving the theatre saying, “Wow. There was a moral to this story,” and feeling a little heart-broken and hopeful at the same time. I like a show that can make me feel so many things in such a short amount of time. My advice, see this show. Younger children might not get or appreciate it (there is some adult humor). But teens and adults will get a big laugh and a life lesson all wrapped into one. The show plays through July 14th.
Go check it out if you have the chance.
Also, I must note that this same play won about a million BroadwayWorld.com Nashville awards last year. Best set design (professional play), best actor (professional play), best lighting design (professional play), best director (professional play) and best professional play. Personally, it deserved them all.