Community Theatre

I wrote the following post as a guest contributor on linkingtriad.com:

Community can mean lots of different things to lots of different people, especially depending on when – and whom – you ask. This is a subject about which I’ve written before. Many of us create and/or join different “communities” to fill different needs in our lives, and as a result find ourselves gravitating in and out of a wide variety of circles. There are likely individuals who share multiple of our communities with us, but not necessarily.

Thinking along these lines lends a whole new meaning to community theatre. As an active member of this particular recreational company – I love the fact that individuals from multiple walks of life share a common love and passion and together create something to be enjoyed by members of a larger social group.

So whether you’re an actor, who loves the prospect of creating an entirely different and believable person on stage, or a director, who lives to bring all those moving parts and pieces together, or an audience member, who appreciates the temporary world that’s being shared with you, community theatre is a cog in the wheel of your social community. Participation by all members is what allows it to function.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a production that requires an intense commitment on the part of the entire community. And as one of the actors in this upcoming production by the Community Theatre of Greensboro (CTG), I can assure you, your participation as an audience member is not only greatly appreciated, but important to those of us on stage as we rely on your immediate feedback throughout the show to remind us of our own (albeit temporary) reality in these roles.

Please join our community, at least for one night, at the Broach Theatre in downtown Greensboro. Opening night coincides with First Friday, on October 7, so come early to enjoy a downtown dinner before the curtain rises at 8. The show will have a run of seven performances, total, which gives you plenty of opportunities to come more than once! Show dates and times are October 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 at 8:00pm, and October 9 and 16 at 2:00pm.

I look forward to sharing a community experience together with you at the Broach. Look for me on stage: I’ll be Candy Starr: the one wearing the cowboy boots.

“Wicked” Behavior

Picture this:

Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. My daughter and I have seats (for which I paid handsomely) in the house, and the curtain is about to rise on the critically-acclaimed production of Wicked. Entertainment Weekly calls it “the Best Musical of the Decade,” but more importantly, my daughter is about to pee her pants from sheer joy just because she’s there. (Hey – don’t knock it – we’ve all been that excited.)

The house lights dim and a phantom voice echoes throughout the theatre, “Welcome to the Gershwin Theatre and today’s production of Wicked. Please take a moment to turn off your cell phones, unwrap any candy, and remember there are no recording devices or photography of any kind permitted during this performance.”

The conductor cues the musicians and as the house lights go out completely, the magic starts. I’m swept away by the flying monkeys and the massive clock that is its own unyielding presence on the stage that is no longer a stage, but the land of Oz. The citizens are swarming the town square, singing a story to me – something about. . . .

Wait. Stop. Um. Sorry – got a text message coming at me from stage right. My eyes are instantly diverted since the glare from the iPhone belonging to the woman two seats to my left is obviously on full brightness. Okay, I reason with myself, I’m sure it’s really important, and she’ll put that away as soon as she hits send, and I force myself back to the scene unfolding on what is now again the stage. Thanks a lot.

Breathe in. Breathe out. The music carries me back to Oz. Where were we? Oh, yes, the energy-infused town square. These folks are adamantly opinionated, aren’t they? I’m there alongside them, singing in my heart every note, every word, and here comes. . . .

You’ve got to be kidding me. She’s still texting? Now I am a yo-yo, caught between two worlds like Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour in Somewhere in Time! “Richard!!!! Come back to me!!!!” Oh, for the love.

I endured through the end of the opening number, which lasted between seven and ten minutes, and then I made my move. I leaned across the woman seated immediately to my left, gently touched the arm of “the texter,” and said in my sweetest most assertive voice: “If you don’t put away that phone immediately, and keep it off, I will retrieve an usher to do it for you.” She replied in an almost surprised tone, “Oh! I’m sorry!”

Bless her heart.

Finally. We’re not in Kansas anymore.