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Performing Arts Group of Estacada's latest production runs from March 7-10 at auditorium

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - The Angel of Death Mort (Dylan Starcher) leans in to make a comment to Gladys (Carol Kiggins) as she talks to Dennis (Jerry Erickson) in the Performing Arts Group of Estacadas latest production.

The Performing Arts Group of Estacada will soon take audiences on a heartfelt and comedic journey focused on the end of life.

"Gladys in Wonderland" begins at 7 p.m. March 7-9 and 2 p.m. March 10, at the Estacada Auditorium, 500 N.E. Main St. Performances are free, and donations are accepted.

The play, written by Rosemary Frisino Toohey, focuses on an elderly woman named Gladys (Carol Kiggins), who enjoys eating doughnuts and reading the obituary column. One day, she receives a visit from an Angel of Death (Dylan Starcher) who helps her decide if it is time to move on to the afterlife.

Debra Bufton plays Gladys' daughter, Doris, and Paul Strobel plays her brother, Frank.

The cast also features Jerry Erickson, Elaine Leatham, Kathy Erickson, Sharon Stagg, Carol Kleps, Dalena Garcia and Oscar Sagastume.

Director Julie Hamer appreciates the insights offered by "Gladys in Wonderland."

"This has a lot of realism, except for the angel, but maybe that's something Gladys conjured up," she said. "It's all pretty real."

Starcher agreed.

"There's a profoundness to it," he said. "It's hilarious and absurd, yet heartfelt."

Hamer noted that many may relate to elements of the story.

"Senior audience members will certainly be able to relate, middle-aged folks will get a peek into their future and younger folks will be reminded of their older relatives," she said.

Kiggins appreciates several elements of playing the title character.

"After we reach a certain age, we're entitled. If we want to eat ice cream and doughnuts, we've earned it. I like that about her," she said.

The cast of "Gladys in Wonderland" is all adults, which is somewhat unusual for PAGE.

"We wanted to do something with more adults," Hamer said, noting that this is fitting because the group's mission is to create opportunities for all community members to participate in the performing arts.

"It's unique in that it uses a lot of older people," Kiggins added.

Those involved with the production have enjoyed working together.

"The characters fit the cast members. All the right people came out," Hamer said.

If you go

What: "Gladys in Wonderland," written by Rosemary Frisino Toohey and produced by the Performing Arts Group of Estacada.

When: 7 p.m. March 7-9 and 2 p.m. March 10.

Where: Estacada Auditorium, 500 N.E. Main St.

Cost: Free, with donations accepted.

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