A reader reviews the latest from Dukesbay Productions

Dukesbay Productions’ production of “Covfefe is for Closers” runs through March 18. Photo courtesy of Dukesbay Productions

[Editor’s note: Here at the Tacoma Weekly, we try to keep up to date with the happenings in our local theatrical stages. We were able to provide a head’s up about Dukesbay Productions’ “Java Tacoma” stage sitcom, the latest episode of which is called “Covfefe is for Closers.” This is the seventh episode of the series. The play opened March 2 and runs through this March 18. While we were unable to review the show ourselves, one of our readers, Liza Morado, was kind enough to send a wonderful account of her experience of the play. Here is what she had to say:]

Saturday night we went to a really small theater in Tacoma called Dukesbay Productions in the Merlino Arts Center above The Grand Cinema. There were two rows of seats, which can accommodate about 40 people. We sat in the back row. The stage was literally in our lap. Coffee and cookies awaited your arrival.

The play was called “Covfefe is for Closers.” I am not entirely sure what that meant other than to once again poke fun at our pathetic POTUS. It was locally written by Aya Hashiguchi and directed by Randy Clark. This sitcom takes place in an imaginary coffee house called Perky’s in Tacoma’s historical district.

The play centers on conversations among a half dozen folks who generally know each other and are given a simple plot to unravel. The historic building housing Perky’s is about to be sold but the owner is willing to sell it to one of the tenants. To that end, each is given a chance at karaoke and the ownership of the building awarded to the best one singing their favorite love song.

I was so impressed with what the writer/director did with the sub-plots, which examine prejudices toward imperfect people. One could not possibly (not) fall in love with every one of those characters. There was the overweight, self-conscious gay man/drag queen whose vulnerabilities truly touch your heart. His dear mother lovingly came back into his life after a couple of years’ hiatus because his father threw him out on the streets for coming out as gay. His father is just another Donald Trump who just so happens to be living within the circles of each and every one of our own lives. True to character, he is very shallow and narcissistic and a relentless ladies man.

There is the short, pudgy woman who looked more like a character from someone’s fertile imagination than a real life person, yet whose performance was over-the-top amazing. You find yourself falling deeply in love with all of her imperfections, giving her forever value in all of our hearts.

There is the shy, demure Japanese woman whose inner samurai came to life at the thought of being called “Oriental.” There is the black barista whose depth of character stun the prejudicial conversation between the competing committees in our heads. He also does a spot-on performance of a quirky black woman with every nuance in the book brought forth so hilariously and right into your lap.

There is the delicate Vietnamese woman who vacillates from the voice on the phone at a nail salon (“You need nails?”) to a real person who has hopes and ambitions, and an inner drive to make them happen. This subtly questions the usual stereotyping of these women as working for you.

Every one of the cast dives head first into their stage characters. What amazed me was not only how well they understood their characters, but also how well everyone could sing and hold the tune like they did.

At the end of the play you not only feel like you know all of the characters on a personal level, but you also value who they are a lot more than you thought you ever would coming into the play. They will be our forever friends.

The final punch-line is a nod to reality. The fact is that what you thought you saw in an old, beautiful building is not exactly as romantic in reality.

The never-ending dilemma concerns how it is to buy historical properties for their architectural glory and then the cold realization about what that will mean to your pocketbook. What you think you saw as cosmetic improvements turn out to be not always what you thought it would be financially once restoration begins.

Brilliant. “Covfefe is for Closers” is brilliant on many levels.

Please bring us more.

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