‘Up’ opens at Pier One on Friday

Pier One Theatre continues its 41st season this weekend with the opening of “Up.”

Performances are planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week and June 6, 7, 8 and 9. All performances are at 7:30 p.m.

“In ‘Up,’ playwright Bridget Carpenter walks a veritable tightrope between fiction and reality. The character of Walter Griffin is fictional. He is, however, inspired by the real- life Larry Walters, a Vietnam veteran and truck driver from southern California,” the Syracuse Stage noted in its 2008 audience guide. Walters made headlines in 1982 when he tied four dozen weather balloons to a lawn chair and took flight.

“Soon, he was 16,000 feet (3 miles) in the air, at an elevation that put him smack dab in the flight path of commercial airliners heading to the Long Beach Airport and LAX. Spotted by two pilots, Walters’ flight was quickly reported to bewildered officials at air traffic control and the Federal Aviation Administration,” writes the Syracuse Stage.

“Up” checks in on the fictional Walter Griffin 16 years after his historic flight, focusing on the question: What do you do with your life after you go up in a lawn chair about three miles?

The Pier One production is directed by Lance Petersen.

The cast includes Peter Norton, Christy Russ, Hannah Heimbuch, Matthew Meyer, Audrey Russell, Joanna Tornes and Megan DeCino.

Other Pier One Theatre shows planned for this summer are:

•June 14, 15, 16: “The Clean House,” by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Peter Sheppard;

•June 21, 22, 23: “Raven Returns,” a one-man show by Jack Dalton;

•June 28, 29: “Youth Theatre Skills Camp Production,” by students in the skills camp.

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