By Alec Clayton
Fully Vaxxed at Olympia Family Theater is one of the funniest, most distinctive and important theatrical events out there. It’s a campaign that will continue and move to other towns after its run at OFT. It’s a plea and a lesson on the importance of vaccinations in the time of COVID-19. It’s a performance of three bilingual, one-act plays running two weekends at OFT, then touring the state. Fully Vaxxed is part of a nationwide public health campaign harnessing the power of art to inspire people to get vaccinated. It’ll also be available for streaming. The ability to speak or comprehend Spanish is not necessary to fully enjoy all that Fully Vaxxed has to offer.
The first of the three, 20-minute plays is “Who’s Afraid of the Rain,” written by Ramón Esquivel in collaboration with Yulitssa Meza Duarte, Lus Gallardo, Arely Sanchez Medina and Mylaa Moreno. It’s directed by Teal Farías. In it, a mystical gate opens between two worlds. A ferret and a sasquatch (both played by Taz Mcbeth), a lechuza or unhorned owl (Chase Diamond), and a dragon and shrimp (all played by Maren Mcbeth) meet in a library in the other world, where they’re warned rain is poisonous. They struggle to figure out who’s who, what’s real and how to keep one another safe as they work through their differences. The dialogue is hilarious and insightful, and the three actors are exuberant and vivacious, of course.
Next up after an elaborate but quick set change is “The Great American Liver Show,” written by Miguel Pineda in collaboration with Mason Lucas, Marixa Romo and Zirayly Ruelas and directed by Vanessa Postil. This one is pure improv with audience participation. Asked by actor Rebecca Rogers what they hate to do, one opening-night audience member said “dishes” and another said “mowing the lawn,” and the three actors — Rogers, Alfonso “Ponch” Campos and June Eventyr — brilliantly found ways to work that into their storyline about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Finally comes “Lucha Virus,” written by Mabelle Reynoso in collaboration with Oliver Garcia, Jazel Hernandez, Leilani Iniguz and Ana Munoz and directed by Luz Gaxiola. Nana (Luz Langguth-Torrez) is a sweet, elderly grandmother obsessed with lucha wrestling and in love with one of its star wrestlers, whose portrait graces her wall. Her grandson Benjamin (Garcia) can’t decide whether to get vaccinated. One night, he falls asleep in his grandmother’s chair and dreams he’s in an epic lucha match. Of all people, veteran actor (and editor emeritus of OLY ARTS) Christian Carvajal shows up as a television, a bottle of hand sanitizer and a doctor. He’s drop-dead funny. So is the entire silly evening of one-acts.
Masks and proof of vaccination are required to enter OFT.
7 p.m. Fridays, March 18 and April 1;
3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturdays, March 19 and April 2;
3 p.m. Sundays, March 20 and April 3
Olympia Family Theater,
612 Fourth Ave. E, Olympia