Arts & Entertainment

Father-son duo takes lead in 'No Trains'

No Trains just might be the ticket to get teenagers interested in theater.

It follows the struggles of a naive 17-year-old kid who somehow lost his date in the bowels of the New York City subway system -- in the middle of the night, no less.

Whether his date actually ditched him isn't the issue here. It's more a story about how a young man meets up with a homeless guy and how they end up helping each other work through some of life's more painful lessons.

What's even more unique about this Richland Players production is that the lead characters are played by the real life father and son acting team of Ted and Stephen Miller.

No Trains, which is directed by Deb Donahoe, also provided an opportunity for Ted to act with his son one final time before Stephen heads off to college in the fall.

"As a parent of a teenager, I was overjoyed that he would want to do a theater project with me," the older Miller said. "Stephen has been involved since his first production at (ACT) when he was 7 years old. Although we are both very active in theater, there have only been a handful of projects over the years that we have worked in together."

Stephen, a senior at Richland High School, shares his father's passion for the stage and even played a hand in encouraging the Richland Players to present No Trains at the annual Kaleidoscope One Act Theater Festival earlier this year in Seattle, his dad said.

"Working with my Dad has always been fun," Stephen said. "I clearly feel the chemistry between us as we act opposite each other. Even though we play strangers in this play, the fact that we know each other so well gives us a mutual trust that allows the characters to become very real."

The father also credits the son with a deep trust that only comes from being related.

"At Kaleidoscope there was a point in our performance that I couldn't remember what line was next. But because I trust Stephen so much, I knew that if I did something in character he would know exactly how to respond," Miller said. "He helped me cover that little glitch and the audience didn't even notice the hesitation."

The younger Miller also performed in an ACT production of Zero Tolerance at the Kaleidoscope festival, earning the outstanding achievement in acting award in March.

No Trains opens June 12 at The Players Theatre in Richland. Curtain time is 8 p.m. There also will be a 2 p.m. matinee June 14. Tickets are $5 at the box office.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;