I’m back in theater with some of my favorite people, and I couldn’t be happier!
This semester’s production is exciting for so many reasons. Part of it is that I took the summer off while the director partnered with the new director of the Princess Theater to create a summer workshop for local teens. While I was happy to hand my job over to my daughter, she was well aware that the situation was only temporary and that she would be forced to relinquish her new-found power at the end of the summer. It’s nice that she knows the stresses of managing a production now, though, and like me she enjoyed it despite the difficulties.
The biggest reason for my excitement is that we finally get to use our shiny new studio theater in the Alabama Center for the Arts Music & Theatre Building in downtown Decatur.
It’s a joint venture with Calhoun Community College, and while I happily congratulate them on the honor of being first to perform in the space, I’m ready to get in there, too! I’m incredibly pleased to get started on the Athenian Players’ first production in the building. While McCandless Hall’s auditorium is beautiful, it is just that, an auditorium. It wasn’t built for theater, and we sometimes struggled with lack of dressing rooms, almost non-existent backstage space, and limited options for set design and lighting effects. We persevered and made it our own, but now it’s time to move on and show what we can do in a space designed with theater in mind. I’m so excited to help find ways to use the space to its full potential.
The play itself is exciting, too. We’ll be performing Verdigris by Jim Beaver, who you may know as an actor on Supernatural, Deadwood, and Breaking Bad, among other things. He wrote a beautiful piece about the efforts of a woman named Margaret, who has been in a wheelchair for all of her adult life, as she tries to maintain her independence, and the relationships of the people who care for her. Our director has said that if life gave Margaret lemons, she’d make not only lemonade, but lemon meringue pie, lemon cakes, lemon candy, and every other lemon-based product she could think of. I almost think she’d manage to turn some into oranges, too. Like verdigris, though, which is beautifully colored but ultimately a form of corrosion, the difficulties she faces rub off on those around her, spreading both brightness and tarnish. It’s a lovely play, and a great choice for our opening production.
Rounding it all out is a cast and crew that I know are capable of amazing things and are fun to work with. Despite auditions that made it difficult to choose, we have a cast that really suits the characters. I know they’re going to come together to make this a great production. And since my daughter is running lights this time around, I’m conscripting another of my favorite theater teens as my assistant backstage. That will be fun, too, and from what I can tell she’s looking forward to a different role this time. Even my son wants to get in on this one to learn sound and lighting.
With all of that, can you blame me for being excited?!