Thursday, October 30, 2014

Break a leg

Ramseyer Theatre is the best. I have great memories of building sets, setting the stage, helping with costumes, box office duties, ushering… and once in a very great while serving as an extra on stage. However, I don’t recall ever having an actual line in a Bluffton production. Probably for good reason.

The last time I was on stage, in front of an audience, was the fall performance in 1984. I have no idea what the play was. I’ve looked through old Istas, contacted Carrie Phillips on #AskAnArchivist day, but no luck. *

Whatever the show was, I was playing the part of a peasant townswoman. Hair kerchief, apron, brown shirt, dingy skirt… and a diamond ring.

See, my guy and I had gotten engaged just a few weeks prior to opening night. I vividly remember director Gene Caskey catching the light bouncing off the diamond during dress rehearsal, and one of the stage hands offering to hang on to the ring for me, and me just twisting it around so that the diamond was “hidden” in the palm of my hand. Yea – that ring was not coming off my finger without a fight.

Tomorrow night is opening night for the 2014 rendition of the Bluffton University fall production in Ramseyer Theatre, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Thornton Wilder which I have never heard of. But it does sound intriguing.

The play is set in 1942—or maybe the dawn of human history, or maybe the present. Mr. Antrobus comes home from a busy day inventing the wheel and the alphabet to be greeted by his wife of 5,000 years, slingshot-obsessed son, precocious daughter and ever-present maid (not to mention the dinosaur and mammoth). The family faces repeated catastrophes, both natural and human-made, in this genre-bending, comic allegory of the human condition, struggling to survive war, floods, ice and themselves—by the skin of their teeth.

Remember Ramseyer, a cozy theatre, comfortable seats, budding thespians, simple sets where the acting takes center stage? There’s time to get your tickets and support Bluffton’s students on this historical stage. 

And if you happen to catch a flash of light from the maid’s finger.** Don’t think a thing about it.

**I have no knowledge whether the maid is or is not engaged and if she is, whether she will or will not defy authority and keep the ring on.

* Carrie came through. The fall 1984 production was "Squaring the Circle."

1 comment:

  1. Carrie beat me to it. I was in "Squaring the Circle," and probably have a script an program around the house somewhere.