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Get nerdy with Theatre of Dare for season finale

Theatre of Dare has gotten into the habit of ending its seasons with some serious laughter.

From Steve Martin’s artistically silly “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” in 2016 to the romantic mischief of 2017’s “Boeing Boeing” to the cross-dressing capers of last year’s “Love, Sex, and the I.R.S.,” the local theater troupe has become well-versed at sending its audiences off into the summer hiatus with a smile.

This year’s offering ups the comedic ante.

“If you want to know what kind of show this is, just keep in mind that Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) played the title role in London,” said director Bert Plante. “There’s a lot of physical comedy, a lot of absurdity. There’s even some cottage cheese.”

“The Nerd” centers around young architect Willum Cubbert (Daniel Ziegler) who lives in Terre Haute, Indiana with his friends and tenants Tansy (Betsy Head) and Axel (Evan Tillett). During his 34th birthday party, Willum gets a visit from Rick Steadman (Jared Eng-Hong), a man who saved his life in Vietnam but whom he has never met. Unfortunately, Rick is the titular “Nerd,” an awkward and inappropriate man with few social skills and even less tact. As you might imagine, his presence throws Willum’s life into a comic tailspin, especially after Rick decides to stay awhile.

“This is certainly one of the broadest characters I’ve gotten to play on stage,” says Eng-Hong, who scored the role of Rick Steadman. “From his entrance to the final moments of the play, Rick is pretty much a tornado of chaos. As an actor, that’s a fun role to have.”

For Theatre of Dare, the show caps a wide-ranging 28th season that saw the group broaden its horizons from Shakespeare to “Rocky Horror,” as well as bringing audiences to tears in “Tuesdays with Morrie.” T.O.D. plans to announce its selections for the 2019-20 season during the upcoming “Nerd” performances, but if the past is any indication, it’s a safe bet that the final show of the season will be a funny one.

“The Nerd” opened April 5 and takes the stage again April 6, 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees April 7 and 13 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students and all performances will be inside the film theater at Roanoke Island Festival Park, 1 Festival Park, in downtown Manteo. The show includes some adult language, so you may want to leave small children at home. For tickets and more information, go to www.theatreofdareobx.com.

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