‘Players’ Perk up Park with Performance

Eric J. Kos    The Peripatetic Players performed a legendary recreation of the first book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, at Franklin Park last Saturday. Above, a ringwraith stalks Frodo and Gandalf from within the audience.

A true miracle of thespianism, a creation beyond the reach of ordinary actors, “The Lord of A Ring in A Suitcase” brought magnificence, drama and madcap hilarity to Franklin Park last Saturday. The Peripatetic Players, an ensemble of five actors, played every part of the broad dramatis personae of the J.R.R. Tolkien book, The Fellowship of the Ring.

The players untiringly inspired the audience to follow the story of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, using little more than some hula hoops and cleaning products they brought in a suitcase. With the help of a pillow dressed as Frodo and some hobbit puppets, the players mixed and matched their parts to fill all the roles. Some players even wore two costumes, performing two parts in the very same scene. After all, the troupe does say, “One does not simply walk into Mordor without a change of costume.”

Of course, the performance took some liberties with Tolkien’s classic, but only to introduce more hilarity and the occasional pop culture reference. Players often traipsed through the audience while on their march to destroy the one ring, which allowed other players to alter the backdrop during the distraction. The audience enjoyed the level of creativity and humor shown in the changing scenes, props, sounds and just enough audience participation to make it fun.

For fans of the 2001 Peter Jackson film of the same name, the Players recreated every song from the soundtrack in hilarious fashion and captured all the great lines, right down to, “dash you dullards!” … or something like that. Otherwise the Players adhered closely to the book, stealing away the chance for a Tony Award-winning death scene for headliner Samuel Peaches’ Boromir, which takes place at the beginning of the second book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Players performed two shows in Alameda this month, the previous show took place at Lincoln Park on Aug. 18. To learn more about these deeply talented performers, see www.peripateticplayers.org.