Actors in Family Theater’s ‘House at Pooh Corner’ also were in ‘Reservoir Dogs’

Contributing writerFebruary 7, 2014 

Olympia Family Theater’s production of “The House at Pooh Corner” opens Saturday.

COURTESY PHOTO

Pug Bujeaud is known for her love of the dark, the edgy and the downright disturbing.

She’s directed “Cannibal,” “Bucket of Blood,” “Titus Andronicus” and a theatrical version of Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.”

This weekend, she takes on Winnie the Pooh.

Fear not, though: The silly old bear hasn’t turned to the dark side. Rather, Bujeaud is directing Olympia Family Theater’s production of “The House at Pooh Corner,” a tale of loyalty, friendship and gentle adventure.

“I try to do at least one show for Pug every year, because I’m a huge fan of the stuff she does,” said Christian Doyle, who’s playing Tigger and last worked with Bujeaud in “Reservoir Dogs.” “She said she wanted to do ‘The House at Pooh Corner,’ and my jaw dropped, because she’s always done these edgier, scarier shows.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘I have to do this.’”

He wasn’t the only one.

“I was offered this when I was working on ‘Reservoir Dogs,’ and a bunch of my ‘Reservoir Dogs’ cast is in this,” Bujeaud said. “They were chomping at the bit, bouncing up and down.

“In some ways, it was some of the easiest casting I’ve ever done.”

In addition to Doyle, there are four “Reservoir” actors in the show, including Brian Hatcher (Eeyore) and Kate Ayers (Piglet). Christopher Cantrell plays Winnie the Pooh.

Like his director, Doyle is accustomed to darker plays, though he has appeared in several of Harlequin Productions’ musical revues.

But the part of Tigger seems a natural fit; Doyle often incorporates physical comedy into his roles and next week makes his debut as the leader of Harlequin Productions’ new improv troupe, Something Wicked. (See story on Page 13.)

“I’m pretty high energy,” he said. “Maybe I would have liked to have done it when I was younger and in better shape, because it’s a cardio part, but it’s a joy.

“I get to do a play that my daughter can come see me in, where I don’t murder anyone or kill myself, so that’s nice.”

And Bujeaud, who read the Pooh stories to her children, is having a blast.

“It is truly delightful,” she said. “I walk out of rehearsal, and my cheeks ache from grinning. I am having a wonderful time, and my cast is having a wonderful time.”

Although she grew up with Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh” cartoons, the director didn’t want to bring that brightly colored version to the stage.

“I try to stay away as much as possible from the Disney version,” she said. “That is so incredibly familiar. If we touched on that, it would be dangerous.”

The House at Pooh Corner

What: Olympia Family Theater presents a play based on A.A. Milne’s classic book about the adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and friends.

When: 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday plus Feb. 15, 16, 22 and 23; 7 p.m. Friday plus Feb. 13, 14, 20 and 21; and 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22

Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts Black Box Theater, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

Tickets: $16 for adults; $13 for students, seniors and military; $10 for children 12 and younger. For the Feb. 13 performance, pay what you can (by cash or check only).

More information: olyft.org or 360-570-1638, or for tickets, olytix.org or 360-753-8586

Ages: The company recommends the play for all ages.

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