Clippings: Focusing on a new stage in life

This month marks my 18th year taking photographs for the Addison Independent. Eighteen years is a long time. It is also a lot of town meetings and a lot of Memorial Day parades. And a lot of Middlebury Community Players musicals and plays. Theatrical productions have always been some of my favorite subjects and the Players have provided me with lots of drama, lots of entertainment, lots of laughter, lots of spectacle and lots of personal highlights: I met my wife in 2009 while photographing the entire rehearsal and production process for “The Music Man.” MCP has given me a lot, and now it is time to give a little back.
At the end of 2015 I started directing one of two short, one-act comedies that will open at the Town Hall Theater on Feb. 11. It is my first time volunteering behind the scenes on a show and my first time directing. It all started a little more than a year ago when I took a directing class with the amazingly creative Doug Anderson, executive director at THT and longtime director of MCP shows, college shows, THT shows and Opera Company of Middlebury shows. Doug guided me and my classmates through the process as he was readying his college Winter Term production of “Ragtime.” It was fun and exhilarating and at the end of the class Doug declared all of us ready to direct our own shows. I nervously stepped forward and then classmate, actor, writer and MCP board member Kevin Commins handed me Tom Stoppard’s script for “The Real Inspector Hound” and said, “You should direct this.”
I agreed. The play is witty, laugh-out-loud funny, clever and thrillingly satisfying. But was I up to tackling Tom Stoppard? Should I really be doing Tom Stoppard for my first show? Wasn’t something with smoke and laser lights and jazz hands and maybe even real live kittens better suited for a first-timer? I felt a bit like a fraud. If Tom Stoppard was dead, and thankfully he is not, would he be rolling in his grave? Is he screaming, “YOU CAN’T GIVE MY BABY TO THIS KNOW-NOTHING!” Tom Stoppard is a knight for goodness sakes! I am not, it goes without saying, a knight. Neither am I a duke, an earl or a viscount. The best I can do is Mr., and even that I try to avoid.
It turns out the better the script, the easier it is for a first-timer. Stoppard, it seems, was just right for me so I jumped in, both feet forward, with a megaphone hanging off my jodhpurs. The first step was auditions. Kate Tilton, who is directing the other one-act, and I auditioned actors together and then duked it out afterward to pick our casts. We both got some of our favorites and we both ended up with black eyes and bloody noses.
It was worth it, because my actors are outstanding. Don’t tell anyone, but actors do all the work. I sit back, treat them respectfully and kindly and try to offer a thought or two. When we were two weeks away from opening during a recent rehearsal a cast member asked if I felt a heart attack coming on. I threw the question back at her.
Everything, I think, has been going well. You can judge for yourself on Feb. 11. I still feel a bit like a fraud, but I have been learning. We shall see what I try to tackle next. I promise it will not involve lasers or jazz hands or kittens. I will leave all that to the seasoned professionals.

Share this story:

More News

Bernard D. Kimball, 76, of Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — Bernard D. Kimball, 76, passed away in Bennington Hospital on Jan. 10, 2023. … (read more)

News Uncategorized

Fresh Air Fund youths returning to county

The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)

Obituaries Uncategorized

Mark A. Nelson of Bristol

BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)

Share this story: