Treading the boards

By: Anne Corke

Oct 21 2011

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Category: Life stories, Theatre

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It’s fall and I feel like I should be in rehearsals. For the past six years, I have been involved with a local theatre group, The King Street Players, in Millbrook. Usually in September we start rehearsals for our next production. Unfortunately Dan and Wendy, the founders of the group, have relocated to the Trenton area, and so our little theatrical family has split up. I’m sad to see it end but so happy to have been given the opportunity to be involved in bringing our shows to the stage, and to have made friends with so many interesting people. Even though I am not particularly talented and I had no previous experience, I was given the opportunity to act and sing in front of an audience and it was a blast.

Prior to joining the King Street Players, I had never been part of a theatrical production, although I had secretly dreamed of being on stage. Fortunately, Wendy’s concept of community theatre is one of inclusion. If you had the desire to be in the show, you were in! I found the whole creative process extremely interesting. Once the play was chosen, the first step of course was the audition, where budding talent (?) strutted their stuff for the producers. Luckily Wendy and Dan are pretty laid back, so auditions were not as frightening as they might have been. Following auditions, parts were assigned and phone calls made and the first meeting of the cast was scheduled. There were new people to meet and old friendships to renew before we got down to work. Since we were presenting musicals, the first order of business was to learn the music, a bit of a challenge for musical director Dan since some of us couldn’t even read music! A challenge, too, to keep our lively group focused on the task at hand! This is where Dan’s teaching experience came in handy. Talking was the biggest problem and sometimes the guilty parties were made to sit up front so Dan could keep their attention! He made no apologies for playing the “bad guy” in order to keep us on track. Somebody had to do it as there was so much to accomplish in a relatively short span of time. We never took it personally, Dan, and we love you anyway. We love Wendy, too, our mother hen, trying to keep everyone happy, coordinating costumes, copying music, updating rehearsal schedules, soothing frayed nerves, managing all the details, all while rehearsing for her own role!  Once we had the music and our own lines down pat (well, almost!), it was time to work on the blocking, that is, the positions and movements of all the characters on the stage. And of course, there was choreography, too. Unfortunately for the choreographers, most of us were not dancers, and I believe we were wholly responsible for more than one choreographer seeking counselling!  Behind the scenes, everyone was working hard. There were mikes to manage, lighting to design, costumes to beg, borrow or steal, to sew and alter, props to borrow or build, sets to build and paint, makeup and hair to design, and so many other details to attend to. But as weeks went by, everything came together. The night before we opened, we would hold a final dress rehearsal at the actual venue, usually a long evening as we tweaked the production for that particular stage.  And then it was opening night and the curtain was rising. Before we knew it, the first performance was over, and we were standing on the stage together bowing to the audience. And Dan and Wendy were smiling! It was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when we thought back to where we had started, and a thrill to be on stage in front of all those people! Thanks Dan and Wendy for allowing us to savour the experience of performing. That’s one thing off my bucket list! I hope we will keep in touch and perhaps even work together again some time in the future. And to those of you who have always dreamed of treading the boards, why not contact a local theatre company and get involved. You never know, some day you might see your name in lights!

Copyright 2011 Anne Corke

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