May 16, 2019 3:45 pm

Where would Bigfoot, Mothman and assorted other quasi-mythical creatures (called cryptids) go in search of love? To a retro “Dating Game” show, of course, complete with a smarmy host, groovy ‘60s-era set and nightly audience participation.

That’s the premise of “Cryptids in Love,” a lighthearted, original theater production debuting May 23-25 at Pierce College Puyallup. Each performance will feature three “rounds” of the game show, with costumed cryptid characters vying for dates with humans, played by volunteer audience members serving as show contestants.

Expect fun surprises, said theater department faculty member Sam Sloan, co-director with colleague Dr. Nichole Nicholson of the play, which was created with input from the student cast.

“We started with a concept but no script,” said Sloan. “We worked on the script with the students over a month. Students developed their own cryptid characters with unique personalities. The cast will have lots of opportunities to improvise each night.”

Sloan described the play as “a comedy with some serious moments.”

“Through the cryptids’ lenses, we get to look at humanity,” he said. “They’re not human but they want to date humans. We touch on contemporary topics while also sending up the classic game show.”

“Cryptids in Love” is the first production to be held in the large Proscenium Theater, which is more often used by the Music Department. “We’re excited to be able to share this wonderful performance space with them,” said Sloan.

The play takes place May 23, 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. in Pierce College Puyallup's Arts and Allied Health Building Theatre. Tickets are free to Pierce College students with ID and $5 for others.