A Columbia Falls bowling alley will host an upcoming performance of a new comedy play whose creators want to highlight the hypocrisy they see between how the Whitefish community talks about housing and how they act.

Titled “A Different Kind of Woman,” the play is a collaborative effort led by Whitefish resident Leanette Galaz and former Whitefish resident Nick Rapp, who directs the play. Work on the piece began last winter and continued through the summer.

Nick Rapp, director of “A Different Kind of Woman”. Courtesy photo.

A pair of staged readings took place at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish in August, but Rapp and Galaz realized afterwards that some of the very people the play was trying to connect with – the working class of Whitefish, including including his service workers – couldn’t really get to a play on a Friday or Saturday night because of their work schedules.

The upcoming September 26 performance at Glacier Lanes in Columbia Falls will be on a Monday evening, with the hopes that those unable to attend Whitefish performances can fit this one into their schedule. Galaz said when discussing this follow-up performance, Glacier Lanes quickly came to mind because she knew owners Kristen and Derek Larson wanted the bowling alley to provide a venue for the community, and that could also be a more appealing setting for people who may not necessarily be comfortable or used to going to a real theater.

“A Different Kind of Woman” uses Irish playwright JM Synge’s “The Playboy of the Western World” as a sort of storytelling skeleton in which Galaz, Rapp, a writing collaborator of Rapp’s named Jessica Felix, and a host of other people worked to fill with details that would seem real to a Montana audience. Synge’s play, first performed in the early 20e century, tells the story of a young man in Ireland who becomes a famous figure when he arrives in town to announce that he has killed his father. Eventually, however, it becomes clear that her father was not actually killed. The man promises to follow through on the deed, but the townspeople who witness the supposed real murder become uneasy when, as Rapp put it, “they can now see the difference between a gallant story and a dirty act”.

“The city, they like the idea of ​​something, they don’t like the reality,” he said.

As Galaz explained, “A Different Kind of Woman” pokes fun at “performative liberalism.”

“People claim to want diversity and inclusivity, but the reality, which we experienced while working on this piece, is quite difficult,” she said.

Synge’s play was controversial in its day, and Irish nationalists even stormed the stage and rioted during a performance in 1907, according to a 2011 Guardian article exploring the play’s checkered history.

For “A Different Kind of Woman”, the piece was written using autobiographical details from Galaz’s life. The interpreters also had the opportunity to discuss and give their opinion on the text. Through its satirical look at Whitefish’s housing situation, the play also addresses institutional racism and white supremacy.

“We were sitting with the entire eight-person cast, a lot of old-generation Montanese, young people, old people from many different walks of life. We would sit together and walk by and give Nick our opinion. Which was sometimes brilliant and sometimes very judgmental, and it brought together a lot of context into our lives and experiences as Whitefish people, or Eureka, because some people were kicked out of Whitefish who are part of that cast,” said Galaz said. . “We also did a lot of research on whitefish, the current context, the past, the present, and thought a bit about the future.”

Participants also wrote sketches based on the research, which helped to further illuminate the piece. Rapp said the term for the collaborative process they used is “designed theater”.

In the promotional material for the play, the synopsis describes the play as being about Christina Guzman. Guzman, “wanting to leave behind the domestic life of her conventional married life in California, escapes her marriage and flees to Whitefish where she finds the resources for her self-realization.”

“Here she falls in love and finds herself inspired to meet the demands of the community and provide affordable housing for the working class,” according to the synopsis. “When aspects of its affordable housing initiative intersect with the personal interests of the city’s financial elite, we learn there’s so much more to Whitefish than meets the eye in travel brochures.

A bowling alley isn’t necessarily a conventional setting for theater, and Galaz said he’s had questions from people curious about how it would work. As she explained, the aisle is closed on Mondays and the building has a stage and performance space with enough space to accommodate around 80 spectators.

The performance will be a theatrical reading starting at 8 p.m. The piece lasts just under two hours. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.montanaarttheatre.org. Tickets are $10, or people can pay what they can at the door.

A poster for the original play “A Different Kind of Woman”. Courtesy Image