Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

    The past few weeks mentally brought me back to a previous experience: a call from a college friend and fellow actor: Debbie Dylis. Deb called to invite me to be part of an MVCC (Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, NY) reader’s theater for former Drama students and Drama Club members. An MV production dramatic bounce off of Spoon River Anthology.
    Years later I retired from touring with my own productions. It was 2020 and COVID crushed any plans for that year and, to be honest, my body hated the intense hour and a half in, perform and then an hour and a half out schedule. I was in pain 24/7. Getting older has its costs.
    Plus, with COVID and your main audience is the very young, and personally interacting with them a crucial part of the show, the show best not go on.
    By 2022 Millie, she who had “the ‘real’ job,” retired so we sold our Nashville home and moved to our Eagle Bay house. After 44 years in the Nashville area we return to where we got married, and back the last last public school I attended in Old Forge, NY. Seven miles down the road from where we now live. Oh, and also where I had one of my earlier drama experiences as Max in Sound of Music. After graduating I went to MV I was in their production of Company as Peter.
    When Black Bear Player Community Theater started up Millie and I eagerly jumped onboard. Then we put on Almost Maine, offering me probably the hardest part I have ever had: one part of a couple that constantly interrupt and talk over each other. Cues were very, very similar.
    Hard? Yes, but I’m always in for a challenge. BTW, if you ever do a part where interrupting and talking over each other is so much of the script, and cue lines mirror other cue lines, precision is problematic when faced with a short production schedule.
    You’d think from all I just typed I hated it.
    No, I felt privileged to have had the part, and enjoyed offering my own take on the character Phil.
    What an adventure!
    Community theater is so underrated. School plays and musicals are a community theater too, really. Remember that after reading my rant here when you go see what your son, daughter, wife, husband, nephew, or niece presents, play of musical. I feel so lucky to live in a community where the theater/gym is so crowded with appreciative souls. Just like we had great audiences for Almost Maine.
    I didn’t know several people who were part of the play, but no problem. Not knowing a few people in a small troupe says a lot in a small town. A play, or musical, a theatrical troupe are all part of one living thing. We breathe, adjust, and found our way to make magic.
    Once again, like when I came back to MV, I was reminded of the fictional Norma in Sunset Boulevard, who had been off stage for a while. Me: since 2019 and in only in my own productions. Other than Spoon River, and my own productions, the last production was in 1976.
    I can’t help but believe, despite our intense political divide, the rhetoric that makes politics, religion and so much discourse, close to impossible, that there’s still magic to be found. When you go to a concert by a community chorus, or watch a production by a community theater group; this is passion, this is belief, this is different people from different perspectives working towards a mutual presentation, a mutual goal. And doing it for you. Especially is small towns like Old Forge, Inlet, Woodgate. Some who drove as far as Rome, NY, or more distant. All to gather together to entertain you.
    I have to thank Millie, my wife, for the patience, especially lately by going over and over the interrupt intense lines with me. So much patience. Not that I’ve ever needed it before, right Millie?
    Also all the other spouses, parents, relatives, friends. Once again: proof we can go beyond our differences and momentary needs for a worthy goal.
    And thank you Black Bear Players.

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    “Inspection” is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 50 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2024
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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