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Parkite gets in on Utah parody

Stephanie Chace Bass, center, plays several roles in Salt Lake Acting
20100714_090553_1saturdays-voyeur

In one night on stage, Stephanie Chace Bass goes from playing a Utah housewife with a penchant for her son’s Adderall to channeling State Representative Sheryl Allen, the Lieutenant Governor running mate for Democratic candidate Peter Corroon.

In between, she frolics about as a blond bombshell looking for Tiger Woods and belts out tunes as Carmen Rasmusen, the 2003 American Idol finalist who happens to be the daughter-in-law of Utah Governor Gary Herbert.

It’s all part of "Saturday’s Voyeur," the theatrical spoof of all things Utah put on annually by Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC). This year’s show, entitled "The Year That Was," opened June 30 and runs through Sept. 5.

The production consists of a series of skits culled straight from the headlines that bombarded Utah over the past year. The 12 cast members reinvent infamous scenarios such as the arrest of two men who kissed on the Main Street Plaza, Sarah Palin’s book signing at a Salt Lake City Costco, and the skinny-dip confession heard ’round the world by Utah House Majority Leader Kevin Garn.

Written by Allen Nevins and Nancy Borgenicht, the script is full of witty, satirical and occasionally offensive material punctuated by clever song-and-dance numbers.

"It highlights this bizarre state that we live in," Bass says. "It makes fun of specific instances that stand out that have happened in the last year and it really showcases how unique this state is."

Bass is one of the few so-called "Voyeur virgins" in a show that features familiar faces year after year. She auditioned in April without having seen "Saturday’s Voyeur," but with a keen awareness of the reputation that precedes it.

Bass started acting in high school after making the decision to steer away from a competitive figure skating career. "I needed somewhere to focus all the energy I had spent on ice skating," she says. She snagged the lead role in "Cinderella" and officially caught the acting bug.

After moving to Park City six years ago, she honed her skills on stage in Egyptian Theatre Company productions including "Caberet" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

Bass coaches figure skating and teaches basic skating skills to hockey players at the Park City Ice Arena, where she has worked since the facility opened.

"Saturday’s Voyeur" marks her acting debut at SLAC. "I’ve always wanted to work for them," she says. "SLAC is an institution in Salt Lake. They’re a great company and they do a lot of really interesting things."

There isn’t one major theme in "Saturday’s Voyeur," but the gubernatorial race is a central element of the play, Bass says. She goes from criticizing Corroon in her role as Rasmusen to buttressing his campaign as Allen. "It’s really fun to play both sides of the fence," she says. "It definitely stretches your acting ability."

Her favorite scenes are those revolving around Sarah Palin, a character played by Victoria Elena Nones. "She is so spot-on and looks just like her," Bass says. "Those scenes get the biggest laughs and the energy that we get from the audience carries us through the rest of the show."

She notes that although it’s helpful to be informed about Utah issues and events, the scenes are set up in a way that don’t require extensive background. "You can come in blind and still understand what’s going on," she says.

People tend to come out of the show with a fresh interpretation of local affairs, she adds. "Not only is it entertaining, it’s also educational. I feel much more informed about the state that I live in."

Bass encourages Parkites to see the show and bask in the regional lambasting. "I think that if people enjoy the Park City Follies, they will really enjoy ‘Saturday’s Voyeur.’ It’s a similar format but on a broader scale," she says.

From critical Utah transplants to loyal natives, the show appeals to anyone, she says. "I think it’s a kind of a beautiful thing. It makes you laugh at Utah, but it also makes you proud to be in such a unique state."

"Saturday’s Voyeur" runs Wednesdays through Sundays at SLAC and is recommended for mature audiences. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets range from $39 to $54 with group discounts available. For tickets, call (801) 363-SLAC, visit http://www.saltlakeactingcompany.org or stop by the box office at 168 West 500 North in Salt Lake City.


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