Proceeds from comedy go to EWU scholarships
by Al Stover
Eagle Life Editor
Patrick McManus was falling as his life flashed before his eyes.
After a brief moment, he realized that the images he was seeing were not his own memories.
“That’s not my life,” Patrick said. “Put that life of Hugh Hefner back in the vault.”
This was just one of the scenes in “McManus in Love,” a one-man play produced Feb. 23 in Showalter
Auditorium. All proceeds made from the show went towards EWU scholarships.
Written by retired EWU professor Patrick F. McManus, the comedy centers on a young Patrick, played by EWU alumnus Tim Behrens, and his first experience at romance. Behrens, who was also a former student of McManus’s, also played the other 14 characters.
The first act of the show began with an older Patrick sitting at his typewriter, striking the keys as he wrote the story about his fantastic love life, which he described as “150 words of fiction.” The audience laughed as Patrick began sharing stories from his childhood such as conquering his fear of the dark and how his friend Crazy Eddie Muldoon’s father, Mr. Muldoon, ended up getting sprayed by a skunk the boys were keeping in the tool shed.
“The skunk smell lasted a couple of weeks,” Patrick said. “Mrs. Muldoon said he didn’t have to sleep in the barn no more.”
Patrick, who had gained confidence after defeating his phobia of the dark, realized he and Eddie needed to start asking out girls. One day after geography class, he went to the water fountain to ask out Melba Peachbottom, the prettiest girl in school. As she was getting a drink, Patrick, in a gesture of kindness, grabbed the handle and accidentally sprayed Melba in the face with water.
After the intermission, Patrick shared a story about his first date, which he referred to the “double date from hell.”
Melba accepted his invitation to go see a western-themed movie with him, Eddie and Marybeth. Patrick went to his cousin Buck, who he swore was not much smarter than celery, for advice about what to do on a first date. Buck told Patrick to yawn, put his arm around Melba and then nibble on her ear.
As the date began, Melba informed Patrick his zipper was down, which led to Patrick getting his tie caught in his fly. Eddie, who helped Patrick cut his tie loose, told him the movie they were seeing was not a western, but actually “Dracula.” Patrick, who had forgotten his glasses and was unable to discern that Dracula was a horror movie, leaned in to nibble on Melba’s ear but instead bit her neck. Patrick’s hearing was lost as Melba screamed into his ear.
In addition to sharing his romantic experience, Patrick told other stories. One of them began with a Biblical joke about Adam and Eve that led into a story about his pet snake Herbie sneaking into Patrick’s sister’s underwear drawer.
Throughout the play the audience laughed and applauded at Behren’s quickness to change roles while smoothly telling the story. Anastasia Black, who had worked with Behrens at the Rockin’ B Ranch, enjoyed everything about the show.
“Even his hysterics made me laugh,” Black said.
EWU student Brady Nash enjoyed how the stories told in the play were relatable.
“Everyone has wacky stories like that growing up,” Nash said. “I loved it.”
After the show, Behrens shared some history about his 20-year collaboration with McManus. The two are planning to have the Washington state premier of their new play, “McManus and Me,” at the Lincoln Center in Spokane on Father’s Day weekend.
“There is a great love between us,” Behrens said. “It’s been a long and fruitful road.”