Players to Host Community Theatre State Convention May 14-16
Performance of "Dearly Departed" Comedy to Climax State Conclave
A costume workshop at the state convention here will focus on problems solved in producing the musical "1776," a scene from which is presented by a Players group at a Bay Cultural Plan meeting.
Bay City Players - Community Theatre
Comedy, costumes, sets, directing, stage combat and volunteer recruitment: all these topics are on the program for a workshop during an upcoming convention in Bay City.
Want to learn how to use a foil or epee on stage? The opportunity will be available when the Bay City Players host the Community Theatre Association of Michigan's spring convention May 14-16. "Cultivating Community Theatre" is the conference theme.
Although the Bay City Players, oldest continuouslyoperating community theatre in Michigan, dates to 1917, Bay City's history of community theatre goes back to 1866-67. In that season Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Padgett presented, and starred in, 10 productions at the Globe Hotel theatre at Fourth Avenue and WaterStreet.
The first productions by the Bay City Amateur Dramatic Society were "All That Glitters Is Not Gold" and "The Rough Diamond" on Sept. 26-27. By the season's final production, "The Irish Tutor" on Feb. 7, the Padgett's had recruited a cast of half a dozen local amateur players to join them on stage.
The early amateur productions set a pattern still followed at the Players: almost all played to packed audiences, according to John H. Gore, in his meticulously documented 1966 Wayne State University doctoral dissertation "History of Platform and Stage in Bay City, Michigan In the Nineteenth Century."
Amateur theatre has come a long way in 139 years. How about instruction for community players in "assorted mayhem" for the stage? If you are a CTAM member attending the conference, take the stage combat session from Steve Mokofsky, artistic director for the Flint Community Players, once a trouper with national road companies of Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls and Camelot.
Many plays call for punching, slapping, wrestling, hair-pulling, etc. This workshop will focus on performing these necessary actions in a safe but realistic way," states the CTAM convention brochure.
Leeds Bird, a mainstay for many years at the Bay City Players, will present a directing workshop entitled "Lost In Space" that explores how to best use the stage.
Jim Carver, former managing director of the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, will present a workshop on acting comedy. Participants will explore style, focus, rhythm, timing, energy and physicalization -- among important elements it takes to get comedy across to the audience.
The costume resources workshop will be presented by Bill Dunckel, freelance costume designer from Grand Rapids, formerly a Bay Cityan who has done many shows in the tri-county area.
Jerry Dennis, technical director in the theatre department at Saginaw Valley State University, will present "Creating With Cardboard," a set design workshop.
Other workshops will provide information on newsletters, volunteer recruitment and retention and topics like senior theatre, programs for youth, play selection and the play "Dearly Departed" led by the director.
"Dearly Departed," the hilarious comedy by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones, is aptly described: The beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the South are seldom tidy and always hilarious. The Turpin's problems keep overshadowing the solemn occasion of their father's funeral. They turn for comfort to their friends and neighbors, an eccentric community of misfits who finally help them through the funeral.###
Arts/Theater Article 402
Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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