Productions Lavish on a Dime, Thanks to Local Businesses’ Storehouses of “Stuff”

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on April 15, 2016

The Magnificent Ambersons and The Taming of the Shrew were lavish on a dime, which is only possible when a theatre has access to a storehouse of furniture, props and just “stuff.” And, better yet, when it need not be bought …

A myriad of productions require a myriad of things, some for one-time use only, while others — like a table given to us by Mayor Don Trotter, with extensions added for Oliver, and the rolling bed given to us some years ago by Kathy Sitton — have made more appearances on the Roxy stage than I have.

Andrea Herrera, owner of Mildred & Mable’s and a member of our board of directors, has opened up to us her storehouse of “things” which resembles the collection of Charles Foster Kane (of Citizen Kane fame) — not unlike Paige King’s Hodgepodge, whose collection of retro items was invaluable, for she was as creative as she was generous. God has often taken something away, but as I mourn the loss of one avenue of access, another opens. I’m reminded that God doesn’t shut a door without opening a window.

And now we have added another shop, Journey’s Eye Studio, at 131 Franklin Street. Proprietor Jody Isaacs and designer Steve Tyrrell feature not only retro items but reconfigured ones — items which were at one time lost in value, now turned into modern, functional and artful pieces.

Two stainless steel lamp posts from Journey’s Eye Studio flanked our set for The Taming of the Shrew. They added class, a touch of period eloquence, and sheer magnificence to what had been the reconfigured Banks’ house from Mary Poppins, along with some columns from more shows than I care to mention with new bases built for us by local fireman Daniel Moore, and a set standing due to sandbags provided by Officer Jim Knoll.

The Wilson Law Firm, our friends right across the street, lent us their waiting room chairs for The Magnificent Ambersons, temporarily swapping them out for the brown high-backs which have graced our lobby through the generosity of Fred Landiss and F&M Bank. Over the years, the Wilson Law Firm lobby chairs have one or three at a time appeared in our Shakespearean productions. All six sat the Ambersons for a posh dinner party.

We are dark during Rivers & Spires (“dark” is a theatre term for “no public performances”), but there still will be class, and the band will be in rehearsal with set construction well underway for Green Day’s American Idiot. We would love to participate in the festival, but our walls are porous and paper-thin, with any sound from outside a distraction for any performance inside.

But I feel, like those good doctors who give up their practices here to work for free in Haiti, we must at times do the same. So on the closing night of The Cat in the Hat, we raised $150 for the St. Jules Free Clinic in Haiti.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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