'3 Tall Tales' with hints of truth

Beowulf Alley stages trio of one-acts written by Tucson actor-writer
2013-07-18T00:00:00Z '3 Tall Tales' with hints of truthKathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Jim Ambrosek is about to hit the big time.

Friday, Beowulf Alley Theatre opens "(Dude) True Story: Three Tall Tales," a trio of one-acts penned by the Tucson actor and playwright.

While he has written plays before, this is the first time his work has appeared on a theater's "main stage."

Though you might not make the connection - he writes under the pseudonym Jimmy Dees.

"I was Jimmy Dees until I was 12," he explained in a phone interview. "It was my stepfather's name."

Ambrosek is a retired technical writer who has been writing for the stage since he was in college.

Don't look for a through-line in these one-acts.

"The only connection between the three," said Ambrosek, "is they are short and can be done in one evening."

He's doing double-duty in the production - when an actor dropped out, Ambrosek stepped into the job.

And while these comedies are mostly fictional, Ambrosek turned to his own life for some inspiration.

"A lot of them have little stories of mine," he said. "A lot of the plays are quite true. When you have a lot of stories, you fit things in as they come to you."

Here's a bit about the plays and what he has to say about them:

"Tenure or Dust"

An English professor dispatched to pick up a Bulgarian poet who is to read at the school loses the poet and wanders into the Buffet bar looking for him.

"Going off to collect the poets was one of my jobs at school, said Ambrosek.

In the play, there is a scene where the professor's department head offers him crackers with mayonnaise; it's a scene that appears early in the play.

"That actually happened to me," said Ambrosek.

While there's some truth in the tales, Ambrosek advised against taking them as absolute.

"The stories get twisted around," he said. "I mix and match incidents and ideas."

"Hungry Hills Estates"

Ambrosek wrote this last year as a sort of companion piece to Beowulf's production of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross." Ambrosek's script, a comedy about two down-on-their-luck real estate agents, was shown at noon at the theater; Mamet's play was in the evenings and Sunday matinees.

" 'Hungry' is a spoof on real estate," said Ambrosek.

"The lawyer is a puppet."

"U.R.O.K"

A holiday meal with a family of self-help enthusiasts turns into a bicker-fest.

"This tale explores the underbelly of wine-tasting, Buddhist monks, personalized license plates, and why Costco is constantly shifting its stuff from one aisle to another," says a press release about the play.

"It's a spoof, written for a winery," explained Ambrosek.

"There are a lot of wine-tasting references." This one was a tad difficult to write, he said, because wine has so many names and terms that he has a hard time pronouncing.

If you go

• What: "(Dude) True Story: Three Tall Tales."

• Playwright: Jimmy Dees, aka Jim Ambrosek.

• Director: Susan Arnold.

• When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 4.

• Where: Beowulf Alley Theatre, 11 S. 6th Ave.

• Tickets: $12, with discounts available.

• Reservations/information: 882-0555.

• Running time: About 2 hours, with one intermission.

• Cast: Robin Carson, Meagan Jones, Renata Rauschen, Hal Melfi, Mark Klugheit, Matt Brown, Jim Ambrosek.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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