Back on the theater stage, one act at a time

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Although widely regarded as a historical film bomb, “The Godfather: Part III” was not without memorable moments.

The most famous, perhaps, is Al Pacino’s oft-cited line, “Just when I thought I was out they bring me back”, which has become as much a part of the national lexicon as any of the best. lines of the much higher parts 1 or 2.

It’s also what goes through my head every time I’m recruited into a new production from the Maury County Arts Guild. Although unlike Mafia don Michael Corleone, it’s a loving gesture, as well as a generous amount of sarcasm.

If you’ve ever been in a live stage production, regardless of the role or role size, you know it takes a lot of work. From memorizing a bunch of lines and all the other steps it takes to “get into character” to hours and late nights spent in rehearsals, it can seem overwhelming when you consider what is required to complete a job. good show on stage. This is especially true when it comes to local community theater.

Daily Herald reporter Jay Powell and Jenny Montes of Columbia portray John and Elizabeth Proctor in the Maury County Arts Guild production of

Community theater can also be a surprisingly rewarding experience, not only through the friends you make as you collaborate, but also as an opportunity to challenge yourself in an exciting way. Often the funniest people to watch are the cast members who come by saying things like “I’ve never done this before” or “I have no idea what I’m doing or what I’m doing. got on board here. “

In the end, it’s usually these people who try to do it again, now saying things like “I didn’t think I would have this much fun, but I did.”

The process, while stressful and requiring a lot of patience, discipline and practice, is also a lot of fun when everything is going, when the lights go out and it is time to take the stage in front of an expecting audience. be entertained.

Like most forms of public entertainment, live theater took a back seat last year after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. At the time, we had just finished production of “The Crucible”, and the MCAG was about to start preparing for their next show, which would have been “South Pacific” by Rodgers & Hammerstein.

The production of

It all came to a screeching halt once we found ourselves in a world where quarantine and toilet paper became our most valuable commodity.

Over the year, the theater world did its best to adapt to the situation. This included organizing rehearsals and productions on Zoom, while others broadcast performances online from the stage to a digital audience.

Sometimes the results were better than expected, especially these last ones, but part of what makes live theater magic is having an audience. You can almost say that the audience is a character in itself.

If it’s a comedy, you need those moments of laughter and applause. If it’s a drama, you need the tears, the gasps, or those moments where everyone is left in stunned silence after an intense scene or monologue. One of the most important aspects of a stage production is an audience, which creates an “atmosphere”.

Next weekend, the MCAG will return to the full live theater experience with “A Night of One Acts,” which will include two performances Friday and Saturday. The production will consist of three one-act plays, including “Dollar”, “Caught in the Act” and “The Big Snooze”.

The only one I can speak to, mainly because I’m at it, is “The Big Snooze,” a murder mystery / comedy mashup, starring a badass detective on the case to solve the “murder” of Humpty Dumpty. It features a few familiar faces from well-known fairy tales, such as Rapunzel, the Big Bad Wolf (or “Wolfe” in this case) and Prince Charming.

However, one of the most intriguing aspects of “Night of One Acts” is that it contains a lot of adult humor. It’s not overtly vulgar or anything that would require a session with a child psychologist if the kids were to see it, but it does make the material more fun for the actors, as well as the older audience.

Comedy, I think, is the best shot the MCAG could have done to bring the theater back live. Hearing laughter in a crowded auditorium will not only be a lot of fun, but a great way to sidestep everything we’ve been through the past year, while also serving as a much needed relief and reassurance that things are finally coming back to life. the normal.

After all, one of the best ways to get over something is to find ways to laugh about it.

The Maury County Arts Guild presents “A Night of One Acts”, which premieres the weekend of June 11-12.

Another thing worth mentioning is that MCAG isn’t the only local Maury County theater group that is finding its way back to the stage.

Sherry Johnson portrayed Sarah Polk at the James K. Polk Home & Museum as part of the Watershed Public Theater production of "Maury Voice" in March.  The theater will have more shows this spring and summer.

More stage performances

The Building Block School for the Arts on South Main Street also premiered its stage show “In the Forest Grimm” over the weekend, which premiered on its brand new outdoor stage. In July, the school will also present an improvisational tribute to “The Carol Burnett Show”.

The Watershed Public Theater also announced its new 2021-2022 season last month, which will launch its first post-pandemic production, “Einstein is a Dummy” in September. Other Watershed shows in the works include the ever-popular “A Victorian Christmas Carol with Charles Dickens” in December, as well as Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice” in June of next year.

Quan McFall portrayed Henry, a young black man who shares his journey from slavery to freedom as part of the Watershed Public Theater's

Watershed will also premiere what will be arguably the most interesting of the new season’s lot, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged),” which premieres in February and March. What’s fascinating about this one is that three actors will attempt to perform all 37 plays of the former bard in less than two hours, with a heavy emphasis on the “comedy” side.

“The Today Show” is quoted as saying “If you love Shakespeare you will love this show. If you hate Shakespeare you will love this show.”

At the very least, it’s sure to be entertaining. Entertainment is the basis of why we do it, and why it’s so much more fun when you have the opportunity in front of a live audience.

Jay powell

Jay Powell is a reporter for the Daily Herald. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JayPowellCDH.

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