Gearing Up for 31st Season, Gala and School of the Arts

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on September 6, 2013

The beach is covered with unfinished Olen Bryants. The tide rolls in stones that seem to have eyes, shards of coral resembling ears, a piece of shell with an odd-shaped nose — bits of faces, but none completed. Is the sea trying to tell us something? Where we came from, perhaps?

I saw a man lugging a huge black plastic bag along the shore. He was picking up every plastic spoon, straw, styrofoam cup — everything from flip-flops to bottle caps. He was maniacal in his efforts. “These bits of trash drive me mad,” he said. And I think he had become mad.

Some people know they won’t be coming back, so … I suppose then, why bother? But I knew I would be, so I decided I would do my part. Not only would I take away anything I had brought down to the water’s edge, but I would take at least one of someone else’s debris. I wouldn’t be excessive, like the man with the black plastic bag, but I would be consistent. Every little bit helps.

At last year’s Gala, it appeared as if President Obama was going to make a guest appearance, courtesy of Clint Eastwood and that infamous chair. But we really did have almost-President, Vice President Al Gore, then Tennessee Senator Gore, give out the first Jr. Monte Award to Ryan Bell. I so wanted Al Gore as our president, if only so I could place on the marquee, “The President has been here … why haven’t you?” But that was ego.

Fred Landiss turned over to Olen Bryant’s creative genius some rough-hewn barn wood from the Landiss’ farm and gave directions for Olen to do what he would with it. On a recent visit to see Olen and his studio at New Deal, I got a gander at some beautiful, but only partially begun, works of art. Olen plans to show them off in our Peg Harvill Gallery before they are glorified and returned to the Landiss family.

Frolic on Franklin is next Saturday, September 14, and it coincides nicely with the Downtown Market. It is a spin-off from Plein Air, an outdoor arts festival spearheaded by Cindy Marsh, which evolved in one direction as Rivers & Spires and in another, closer to its beginning, as Frolic on Franklin — visual artists supporting the performing arts. This free all-day festival with artists’ booths, demonstrations and musicians ends with the 31st Anniversary Roxy Gala, featuring an exquisite dinner from The Bound’ry.

Thornton Wilder’s The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden was so beautifully acted and skillfully directed by the Roxy’s own Leslie Greene, who managed to inspire the young and talented summer interns to give adult-like performances. The Saturday School of the Arts’ fall session begins tomorrow from 9:00am to 11:00am, and students will be rehearsing Thornton Wilder’s Pullman Car Hiawatha. For those wishing to explore dance and voice, Jessica Davidson and Michael Anthony Spaziani will alternate Saturdays from 11:00am to 12:30pm.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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