by RoxyRegionalTheatre on November 4, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities first appeared in 1859 in installment format, as many of Dickens’ works had done. It’s difficult for me to imagine waiting patiently for each issue to make it to the newsstands. When I read the book, I couldn’t put it down.

A young high school thespian in our troupe was stymied by the thought of the Dover Coach. He could only think of the town up the road and northwest of here, and an athletic instructor. Once I cleared up those two misunderstandings, he was able to wrap his head around the classic Dickens tale.

One critic after WWI said that we no longer are moved by the sacrifice of Sydney Carton. That cannot be true, for the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives for their friends at home still stirs the same emotions as those which prompt us to bare our heads as we pass the grave of the Unknown Soldier. “Greater love than this no man hath, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Any serious theatre company seeks the always reached for, but rarely achievable, ensemble company of perfect players. Unfortunately, there is always one odd egg and/or sour apple. But this troupe of Two Cities players are that ultimate dream come true, a glorious ensemble of ego-less artists, all pitching in together to strive for perfection.

We have engaged our Clarksville attorneys to help us produce this Dickens classic — Aldred Law Firm; Batson Nolan PLC by Richard H. Batson, Dan L. Nolan, Mark Nolan, Jill Bartee Ayers, Suzanne M. Pearson, Carol M. Joiner and Philip M. Mize; Cunningham, Mitchell & Rocconi; Mart Fendley; Beverly Fisher, Attorney; Sheri, Lucy & Jackie Gonyea; Evans Harvill; Martha Levardsen; Law Office of Sharon T. Massey; The Law Offices of Olson & Phillips; Parker & Pugh, Attorneys at Law; Reid Poland; Mitchell Ross; Runyon & Runyon, Attorneys at Law; Dr. Charles W. Smith; Allan Thompson; Michael K. Williamson; Wilson Law Firm — since courtrooms on both sides of the channel are depicted in the sweeping story of love, revenge and self-sacrifice, all set against the blood-stained background of the French Revolution.

Tonight (Friday) is our pay-what-you-can preview of A Tale of Two Cities. Any tickets not pre-sold at the regular ticket price will go on sale at 7:30pm for whatever price you wish to pay. Two Cities continues through November 19, playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on Saturday, November 12.

Next Monday, November 7, at 7pm, we are joining theatres across the country in presenting Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays. I’m not a proponent of gay marriage as such. Marriage, for me, is a religious ceremony; Civil Union is more my cup of tea. Standing on Ceremony, which addresses these issues and others, is written by some of our best young playwrights: Jordan Harrison, Jeffrey Hatcher, Moises Kaufman, Joe Keenan, Neil LaBute, Wendy MacLeod, Jose Rivera, Paul Rudnick and Doug Wright.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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