The Idyllwild Actors Theatre cast for “The Outgoing Tide” rehearse for Oct. 26 and 27 performances. Here, Allen Purchis (as Gunner) and Kathleen Walker (as Peg, his wife) talk while in the background is Jacob Teel (as Jack, their son).   Photo by Suzanne Avalon, director

At some point in life, we all must deal with the issues presented in “The Outgoing Tide.” Many in Idyllwild already have or intend to face subsurface strength of the outgoing tide.

Bruce Graham, the playwright, has infused this insightful and provocative play with a surface of humor.

The audience will be observers in this family’s personal and life decisions. Gunner, played by Allen Purchis, is from South Philly. He is retired from his lifetime trucking business.

Now he and Peg (Kathleen Walker), his wife of 50 years, are making decisions for the next stages of their lives. Ultimately, these discussions will involve their son Jack (Jacob Teel).

A blue-collar life confronting a history of a bullying father, mental deterioration, assisted living and other choices will be exposed before the audience.

Director Suzanne Avalon promises a “drama [that] hums with dark humor and powerful emotion.”

As president and founder of the Idyllwild Actors Theatre, Avalon said she chose this play because “it was a powerful piece that is certainly topical for any family dealing with aging, relationships and loss. What makes it truly heartwarming is the humor the characters have in the story. They look at their situation with irony at times that makes them human, and honest.

“Kathleen is the only one to play Peg,” Avalon said, explaining how she became a director again. But it’s a dream with these actors, she added. “The actors in this play work beautifully.”

Directing is being responsible for the whole piece. It’s the director’s vision to tell the story, working with the lighting, sound and set designers, and, of course, the actors. The director is manager, coach, chief and ultimately CEO. But unlike a micromanager, who subconsciously is playing each part, Avalon lets the stage “… magic happen from within the actor as they develop the character.

“My job is to fine-tune that experience, or scrap it, depending on how it works on stage. Restricting an actor from finding those hidden gems is counterproductive to the play. … Emotional discovery is awesome when it comes from the inside out,” she said, describing the process to produce this performance.

IAT has performed Graham’s work before, in April 2017. “Stella and Lou” was a stage reading, which found great appeal in this community. He began his career with the Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays in 1984. His ability is demonstrated by the numerous grants and awards he has earned during his successful career.

The performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Rainbow Inn (54420 S. Circle Drive). Before the curtain rises, there will be a reception at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices are $18 for general seating, and $25 for VIP seating. VIP seats are the first two rows and include complimentary wine and snacks. They are available only through advanced purchase online at, which must be accomplished by noon on the day of performance.

General seating tickets may be purchased at the door or online. Space is limited. Call for reservations. For more information, call 951-692-9553.