January Dinner Theater!

"Ringing Out"
A new play by Josh Wagner premiers 
January 17th-20th at The Crystal Theater
In collaboration with Josh Wagner, 
The Silk Road presents 
Dinner Theater one night only!

by Chef Abraham Risho

First Course
Pork loin slow-roasted with Chinese Five Spice, layered with scalloped yams au gratin & roasted honeycrisp apples, topped with candied pecans

Second Course
Pheasant rubbed with Advieh & braised with pomegrante-walnut sauce, served with golden rice tadiq & pickled grapes

Third Course
House-baked cake soaked with rum, drizzled with dulce de leche

Buy your Dinner Theater tickets now: 

Here's what Josh Wagner and director, Rebecca Shaffer have to say about this new play:

"Actively working in theatre means I'm constantly thinking about different ways to engage the audience. Experiencing theatre shouldn't be a passive activity. With the rise of media-driven experiences, the psychology of our audience is changing, and we, as artists, must also evolve.

Josh is one of those playwrights who immediately lays the foundation for such work. His rich characters are unconventional and provocative. His stories weave comedy and tragedy into one beautiful, bittersweet tapestry, reflecting the complexities and joys of the human condition. He, too, thinks about the audience. This is the third production we have created together. When we begin the process of brainstorming, we always ask: "What role does the audience play?" During "Salep and Silk"--our last dinner theatre collaboration with The Silk Road--the audience was placed in the spirit world, with candles on the table representing the intangible soul.

Food is a delightful way to engage the audience, particularly when it comes from The Silk Road. This will mark the sixth dinner theatre production with Sam Risho, Abe Risho, and myself in the Crystal. The food is a part of the concept. What is written into the script is often created on the audience's plate, as a way for them to further engage the story through the palate.

In "Ringing Out," the audience will be enveloped with the actors underground, through a lowering of the ceiling. The bulk of the play takes place in a bunker that Rick, a survivalist who predicted the demise of society, built as a safe haven for his wife (Kendra) and a young child (Mandolin) they rescued from the post-apocolyptic destruction. The story happens somewhere around fifteen years after their descent into the underground.

Throughout the play an unraveling takes place, brought about by Mandolin's search for memory--something she remembers as Christmas. Her re-creations become a skewed interpretation of what had been, and their safe haven is further upset by the arrival of a Stranger, with whom Mandolin connects. The complex relationships between the family members are darkly moving.

We are working with Daniel Scott Morris as our set designer. Scott is an installation artist and photographer who moved to Missoula from Chicago last year. He has a skill for being able to conceptualize the story visually, and we've been discussing this idea of unraveling mirrored as an aesthetic theme.

The play features an all-star cast of Missoula Actors, with Howard Kingston as Rick, Ann Peacock as Kendra, Jennifer Fleming-Lovely as Mandolin, and Ali Tabibnejad as The Stranger."

~Rebecca Shaffer

"Ringing Out began as my attempt to write a new Christmas story. I'm a sucker for holiday yarns (Scrooged is my favorite). As the script began to develop I realized it would be more about people and less about Christmas. This isn't a play you have to see in December. That's why, as a post-apocalyptic story we decided to stage it post-Christmas. When I finished the early draft my first thought was, "man, this is a bit darker than a typical Christmas story," but then I realized that scenes of 'A Christmas Carol' take place in a cemetery, and 'It's a Wonderful Life' is about a guy who wants to kill himself. The dark side of Christmas is important. It's a dark time of year, and fighting against that is the point of the holiday.

So we set the story after the end of the world, as dark and bleak as it gets. Ringing Out is about how things fall apart, and how new traditions can spring out the ashes."

~Josh Wagner