And The Monte Went To …

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on April 8, 2016

In our very first cold, bleak winter of ’83, we received our first donation of support. It came from Millersville, Pennsylvania.

The check was from a former Clarksvillian, Mrs. George L. “Monte” Narber, who had heard about us from her friend, the late beloved Grace Cunningham. Her check gave us the one thing we most needed — hope.

Monte wanted us to produce Shakespeare, which she supported until her death. Jim Mann took up the gauntlet when she passed. Now the City of Clarksville, due to the efforts of Mayor Johnny Piper, has continued to make Shakespeare an important part of our quality of life in Clarksville for the last 31 years.

Monte supported us for years — a scaffold, a follow spot, and funds for a gift for every child who appeared in our Christmas shows. She was a gem and a generous one.

Hope isn’t easy to come by. It is shattered in little ways and given in larger ones, such as by Dan Stark, who let us pay off our huge gas bill in quadrants when he could have closed us down, and Harry Orgain, Jr., who let a large bill be written off so we could continue.

Trump has tried to make me see only the backward element in society. But like Monte’s hope and Anne Frank’s axiom, “I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Shakespeare enriches our minds as well as our hearts.

Because of Monte’s longtime generosity and kindness, we have named an award in her honor. Past recipients have included Debby Dowlen, Stacy Turner, Marge Lillard, Cinders Murdoch-Vaughan, Linda Ellis, Paul Flaten, James Mann, Kathy Sitton, Richard Gildrie, Alice Cortner, Gene Wolf, Mary Harpel, Conrad & Alison Edington, Jim McDonald, Peg Harvill, Dr. Bill Grabenstein, Mike Fink, Greg Williamson, Susan Bryant, The Leaf-Chronicle, The Riverview Inn, Leslie Greene, Joanne Anthony, Nelda Steeley, Jon Prudhomme, The Eichhorn-Kitterman Family, The Boen Family, Maria Rice McClure, Walter Marczak, Paige King, Meredith Gildrie, Bruce & Debra Jobe, Judi Sinks, Beverly Fisher & Kitty Madden, Katie Kennedy, Mary Nell Wooten, Nancye Britton, Ted Jones, Lena & Jimmy Orgain, Judy & Fred Landiss, Phil & Jill Whittinghill, George & Sharon Mabry, Meredith Gildrie and John Waddle. This year’s Monte Award went to Courtney Berlyak and Joel Thomas.

I know how important Shakespeare is to our education. It is said he said nothing new — but, oh, how beautifully he said it!

This theatre is now in repertory. Isabel Amberson plays Kate, Uncle Jack plays Petruchio, Eugene takes on Lucentio, a nameless maid is now Bianca, a butler is now Tranio, the gossip Mrs. Johnson becomes Petruchio’s sidekick Grumio, Wilbur Minafer becomes Hortensio, Aunt Fanny becomes Hortensio’s widow, and a narrator becomes Gremio. The switch back and forth is an actor’s dream — or at least it was for me.

Your final chances to catch our 31st annual Shakespearean production, The Taming of the Shrew, are tonight (Friday) at 8:00pm and Saturday at 2:00pm and 8:00pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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