Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Beginnings and Sad Endings

With every ending comes a new beginning, and that's exactly what's going on in the life of CCT/2FT right now.

With the (very sad -- half the cast was in tears during the closing number on Saturday night) of "bare" comes the beginning of our next production, Bernard Pomerance's "The Elephant Man". Before we get into the details of the new show, however, let's do a quick wrap-up of the old one.

"I'd like to start with just a ...
If we could take a moment ...
I tried to find the words to ...
Just the right quotation ...
But I must confess I came up empty."

For those of you who saw "bare", you may recognize those words. For those of you who didn't see "bare", shame on you -- your punishment is that you have to Google the words yourself to get the reference! But in all seriousness, I think with the end of this show, most of its participants feel as though a little piece of them is missing -- not just that they now have evenings free to watch Monday Night Football and eat dinner with their families, but more than that. This was one of the closest-knit casts I've ever worked with -- this cast was truly a family, and I think there will be a bit of separation anxiety over the course of the next few weeks as we all readjust to life without rehearsal (and each other) every night. To me, that right there says more about the success of this show than any review or any box office numbers (not to say that the reviews and numbers weren't good or aren't important; I'm just a sentimentalist). To the "bare" team: I for one feel priviledged to have worked with each and every one of you. This cast had more talent and dedication than possibly any other cast I've worked with, and you all turned out a great product. Be proud of yourselves, and stay in touch!

And now, for our next trick, we present to you "The Elephant Man", directed by Natalie V. Safley. Some of you may have seen the movie with Anthony Hopkins, or may be familiar with the story of John Merrick from your history books or your own research/interest in the subject. For those of you who aren't: a brief synopsis ...

"The Elephant Man" is based on the life of John Merrick, who lived in London during the latter part of the nineteenth century. A horribly deformed young man, who has been a freak attraction in traveling side shows, is found abandoned and helpless and is admitted for observation to Whitechapel, a prestigious London Hospital. Under the care of a famous young doctor who educates him and introduces him to London society, Merrick changes from a sensational object of pity to the urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati. But his belief that he can become a man like any other is a dream never to be realized.

I'm pretty excited about this play. Safley is taking some interesting directions with it, and the cast list is full of names I recognize from having been in the community theatre world for a while, and you probably will too:

Cast List (in order of appearance)
Ringmaster/Announcer: Asher MillerFrederick
Treves: Stephen Smith
Carr Gomm: Tim Griffin
Ross: Jay Tilley
John Merrick: Hans Dettmar
Pinhead Manager: Eric Garner
Pinheads: Laura Moody, Kara Succolosky, Kyla Waitt
Belgian Policeman: Wayne Jacques
Conductor: David Saunders
Miss Sandwich: Robin Zerbe
Will, porter at the London Hospital: David Saunders
Bishop Walsham How: Phillip Archey
Snork, porter at the London Hospital: Wayne Jacques
Mrs. Kendal: Alyssa Jacobsen
Duchess: Kara Succolosky
Countess: Kyla Waitt
Lord John: Eric Garner
Princess Alexandra: Natalie Holmes

I don't know about you, but I'm curious as to why "Miss Sandwich" didn't make it into the final round of "Clue" suspects. Probably that won't be covered in the script, but maybe there's some back story there for Ms. Zerbe to delve into during character analysis time.

To wrap up: Congrats to the wonderful cast of "bare" for a great show; congrats to the cast of "The Elephant Man" for being cast in our next fabulous production; and keep checking in over the next few weeks for new cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes looks at "The Elephant Man". You'll have a guest writer, too, in the form of "The Elephant Man" producer Theresa Bender -- I know, it will be very sad to not have my charming wit for a few weeks, but she'll take good care of you, I promise.

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