In 1992, Patrick F. McManus, already recognized as one of America’s funniest humor writers from his columns in Field and Stream and Outdoor Life, and his many books, wondered if his stories about growing up in rural Idaho might work on the stage. Pat used his own fear of the dark as a central theme to weave some of his favorite pieces together. The result was described by one reviewer as “a wonderful cross between Mark Twain and Bill Cosby.”
The two-act play begins as Pat rummages through an old trunk. Each discovery -- a piece of tent, the slingshot “Whomper,” his collection of dried road kill, a cracked brace from his sled, “Rosebud” -- triggers recollections of a childhood incident.
The key to the success of Pat’s writing, and in Behrens’ acting, lies in activating the imagination of the audience. Just enough detail is provided to connect the viewer to each misadventure. The audience fills in the blanks, making each story their own.
In this way, specific incidents become universal experiences.
Behrens portrays more than 12 different characters, each
suggested by nothing more than a change of voice, posture
or movement, ranging from the dirt-encrusted old woodsman,
Rancid Crabtree, to the daft but well meaning Mrs. Swisher.
DVDs of “A Fine and Pleasant Misery” are available