Busman’s Holiday Brimming with Exceptional Theatre

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on November 11, 2011

We have never been in the business of breaking hearts. But when over 75 young people audition for the 20 roles in A Christmas Carol, some young people are not going to be cast.

Many variables are at play. Some children are in between ages, while some are too tall for Tiny Tim but not quite big enough for Peter. Some are too tall for Belinda, and others are too old to play Martha. This year we were able to cast all little boys as Tiny Tim. Although you can do your best to disguise her, a little girl playing Tiny Tim is still a little girl playing Tiny Tim.

But not being cast in A Christmas Carol is not the end of a young person’s theatrical career. There will be roles in William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, roles in the upcoming musical ‘13,’ and roles this spring in 101 Dalmatians. So, all is never lost.

I took a busman’s holiday to see four shows in just over a week, each one better than the last. Montgomery Central Middle School presented a Halloween offering, An Evening of Eerie Events, directed by Windy Fillmore and Lynn Lemons. Outstanding were two Saturday class students, Ali Arnold and Truman Jepson. They knew their lines and spoke out with clarity and firm of purpose.

West Creek High School offered three different casts of Twelve Angry Men, Twelve Angry Women, or Twelve Angry People, depending on which performance you saw. Directed by Rob Silvers, the production was ingeniously presented in the round, utilizing the foyer of the school as playing area. Of course, the standout was our own Amy Wyer.

Clarksville High School produced All in the Timing. Former Roxy Regional School of the Arts students Ally Campbell and Joanna Patmore were standouts. Barbara Wesner has a skill in bringing out the finest in her students and creating, even in the set changes, an interest and a smoothness that one can only associate with a choreographed performance.

I went to see Wicked at TPAC and noticed a number of Montgomery County school buses, which had brought students to see this clever prequel to The Wizard of Oz. It’s a good show, and I found an old classmate playing the Wizard. I asked a student what the trip cost them — $67 in gas and ticket price. I sometimes feel this theatre is much like “a prophet in his own town,” or rather, “if we are here, we couldn’t be any good.” “The grass is always greener” is truly an American axiom, for every small town in Europe has a theatre group, a ballet troupe and an opera company.

A Tale of Two Cities continues through November 19, playing Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and this Saturday at 2pm.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is our toy drive. A new, unwrapped gift will get you a ticket to see A Christmas Carol, opening at 8pm that Friday, November 25.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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