“Nice Fish” actors Jacob Teel (left) and Scott Wilson.
Photo by Jon Millhouse

On a frozen Minnesota lake, the ice is beginning to creak and groan. It’s the end of the fishing season, and two old friends are out on the ice, angling for something big; something down there that is pure need. Something that might just swallow them whole.

“Less a traditional play and more a series of vignettes,” Co-director Kathleen Walker explains. “Quick scenes compel our quirky characters to exchange their musings on life, is the pattern of this prose poetry.” Delivered in patchwork, with two- or three-fold consciousness, light elements of Becket or Ionesco evoke when waiting triggers whimsical pondering and humor trumps. “It’s true-to-life yet magical and charming with a surreal, lyrical intensity,” Walker adds.

The Idyllwild Arts Theatre production stars Scott Wilson, Jacob Teel, Rena May, Derrik Lewis and Chris Doshier. It is also co-directed by Suzanne Avalon.

In “Nice Fish,” author, Academy Award-winner and former director of London’s Globe Theatre Mark Rylance draws on his own teenage years in the American Midwest to collaborate with critically acclaimed Minnesotan contemporary prose poet Louis Jenkins.

Jenkins is a recipient of the Rush Foundation Fellowship for poetry, a Loft-McKnight Fellowship and the 2000 George Morrison Award winner. He has read his poetry on “A Prairie Home Companion” and was a featured poet at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in 1996 and at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in England in 2008.

“Nice Fish” has been performed at The Gutherie, The American Repertory Theatre and the LA Shakespeare Festival. Following a four-year international run, “Nice Fish” was nominated for an Olivier Award, for Best New Comedy, 2017.

“For 15 years, it’s been a fundamental goal of IAT to bring quality theater to the Hill. We hope you enjoy this production,” offers Avalon.

“Nice Fish” will stage at the Rainbow Inn at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21. A reception begins at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices are $18 for general seating and $25 for VIP seating. VIP seats are in the first two rows, include complimentary wine and snacks, and are available by advanced purchase only. General seating tickets may be purchased at the door, or online at www.idyllwildactorstheatre.com, or call for reservations. Space is limited. For more information, call 951-692-9553.