Betsy Kruse Craig is a stage veteran.
Still, her upcoming performance in Invisible Theatre's "The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead" has got her a wee bit nervous.
You see, she plays all the characters - young, old, male, female, blonde, brunette and redhead.
"The play is intense," admitted Craig.
"It's nothing like I've ever done before. Getting all those words and people straight …"
The play's conceit is this: Rhonda has been married for 17 years when her husband calls her and tells her it's over; he's moved out of the house.
This revelation, and her intent to confront the woman involved with her husband, brings on a catastrophic event.
There are seven characters in the play, and each one has a different take on what happened at that event. Think "Rashomon" on stage and in modern dress.
Craig transitions from one to the other character in less than 60 seconds, using a wig, or a stance, or a gesture to differentiate each.
"The transitions are all done on stage," she said. "They are part of the flow of the piece."
It takes more than a wig or a costume change to make a new character.
"You have to have a good handle on who the characters are, and you have to have strong, grounded ideas about the characters. I play a 5 1/2-year-old boy and a man in his mid-40s. It's been challenging to find a way to make it work without making it a bit of a caricature."
What she has done, she said, is develop a "hook" for each.
"It's a handle you can grab on to, a gesture, a stance," said Craig.
"Every character has a specific prop. When it's in your hand, you embody that character."
Audiences are always important, but especially so in solo shows like this one.
"The audience becomes your confidant," said Craig.
"It's lonely to be the only person on stage. It makes you realize how symbiotic those relationships with other actors are. Here, you have to apply your own stimuli, and that's the audience."
The title screams "comedy," but Craig said it is much more than that.
"It's comedic, tragic, a mystery - it has all these elements in it, which makes it kind of special," she said. "It's a little about fate, the cruelty of life, and getting through it."
If you go
• What: Invisible Theatre's production of "The Blonde, the Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead."
• By: Robert Hewett.
• Directors: Brent Gibbs and Susan Claassen.
• When: Preview is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; opening is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Regular performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Continues through April 29.
• Where: Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.
• Tickets: Preview $18; all other performances $25.
• Reservations/information: 882-9721 or www.invisibletheatre.com
• Running time: 2 hours, with one intermission.
• Cast: Betsy Kruse Craig.
Local stage star on silver screen
Betsy Kruse Craig has long been a star of the local stage.
Come this weekend, she'll be a star of the screen, too.
Tucson-based Coyotemoon Films premieres its new movie, "The 3 O'Clock" at Reel Arts Friday.
Craig is the star, performing with her old buddies from her days at The Gaslight Theatre, Mike Yarema and William Hubbard.
The 30-minute comedy - written by Michael Grady and directed by Howard Allen - is about job searching. Timely, that.
The journey into film has given her a bit of the bug.
"I look forward to doing more," she said.
"I had such a great time working on that project. We'll see."
"The 3 O'Clock" premieres at 6 p.m. Friday at ReelArts, 4811 E. Grant Road in Crossroads Cinema. A donation of $3-$5 would be nice, we're told.