Mel Mayberry is a friend of mine and a rather well known and loved local community actor. She shares a blog post with us today and I find it heart warming and of value to all of us. Enjoy.
Teach Your Children Well
We’ve all heard the expression “It takes a village.” Nowhere is this pointed out more clearly than in community theatre.
A few years ago, our small town revitalized the local arts council. One of our first events was producing a live play on the stage of our local historic theatre. We had a non-existent budget, six feet of stage space in front of a movie screen, and no air-conditioning backstage (in July). Our actors ranged in ages from 13 to 93. Our 93-year-old had performed in the last live production at the Windsor Theatre during high school in 1934. He quickly became an audience favorite and was in several more plays over the next few years. Our 13-year-old is now a senior in high school and just had a lead role in their annual production. She still greets me with a huge smile and a “Hi, Stage Mama” whenever I see her.
This is what “community” truly means. All ages and talents coming together to create something greater than the individual.
Recently, I shared with a friend my concerns about how our current production rehearsals were progressing. Several of our cast members are students new to the stage or with very limited experience. Our director is a gem, but she can’t be everything for everyone. I’ve witnessed our more seasoned actors step up to the plate by taking these newbies under their wings and offering tips on stage presence, voice inflection, even costuming. We had our dress rehearsal last night. Here’s my email to a friend this morning:
“Dress rehearsal went fairly well. The young man playing the lead got into his character much better. Being in costume helped, I’m sure. He gave a beautiful grin at the end just like I’d asked him to do, and even added a wink! I talked to the shy little gal while we were in the dressing room; told her she still isn’t loud enough and she just needs to belt it out. I reminded her our director would tell her if she’s giving too much and would ask her to pull back. She did better, too…still a ways to go, but better. We didn’t get home till after 11:00 p.m. I’m hurting and tired today. I don’t know how our director does it…she’s like an Energizer bunny! And we turn around and do it all again the next four nights. Maybe I’m getting too old for this $%#^!”
And here is my friend’s reply:
“You might be getting older, but I can’t see you ever giving this up. It’s in your blood. And SOMEONE has to teach the young ones!”
Very insightful words from someone who’s never even been in a play before. Yes, someone DOES have to teach the young ones. In whatever capacity, whatever group or organization. It’s up to us “seasoned” ones to pass along our knowledge and the stories of past mistakes as well as successes. It’s our responsibility to instill a love of these things we do so they can carry on this thing called “community.”
You can see Mel in Inlaws, Outlaws and the Christmas Ham at the Rowan Theater in Rowan, Iowa. There will be 6 shows: Dec. 4, 5, 6, 11 & 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 13 @ 2. The story is about an extended family gathering on Christmas Eve that is complicated by a snow storm and a hostage situation.