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In This Issue
Reservations (706) 208-TOWN (8696) · Lobby/Backstage (706) 548-3854
2005 Officers Picked
The 2004 Annual Meeting saw the nominating committee's slate of officers voted in by T&G members. Andy Garrison will take office as president at the first of the year, with Terrell Austin as vice-president and head of the play-reading committee. Hope Vance and Matt Humphrey will become secretary and treasurer, respectively.
At its October meeting the board asked Terrell Austin to accept an appointment as vice-president for the rest of this year, after Stuart Ivy resigned.
Andy and the new officers will name the remainder of the board, with one exception, as soon as they take over the reins. The Town & Gown Theatre Guild will choose its liaison to the Players, who will serve as a voting member of our board. Directors and voting members appointed by the new board will lead standing committees on membership, Second Stage, facilities, publicity, and front of house. Rounding out the board will be heads of the development and season tickets committees and the webmaster.
The board intended to submit a bylaws amendment to make the development committee head a voting member of the board, but did not get that item on the agenda for the annual meeting for 2004.
We Need Volunteers!
Our Front of House committee is always looking for volunteers for those latter positions. Ideally, each performance needs four people working in the lobby: one selling tickets, one handling concessions, and two handing out programs and helping to find seats. In return for their effort, each volunteer receives a voucher good for one free ticket to any show during the next year. None of the jobs are hard, and the ushering positions in particular are great for students wanting to get into theater or those people who want to see great performances but are on a tight budget.
Visit the T&G home page to sign up.
Coming to Town & Gown
Facilities Week Calendar Filling Up
What's your beef: restroom closures on performance nights, the perpetual jam of scenery in sheds and loft, the dripping canopy? The facilities committee will try to remedy some of these conditions during Facilities Week, March 6 to 13, 2005.
The calendar still has room for your pet project. The theater will go dark for that week and T&G members will become cleaners, trash haulers, painters, and picnickers. Please mark your own calendar, and by all means get in touch with email@example.com or any committee member to propose new items for fixup, cleanup and touchup.
We also seek in-kind donations for Facilities Week: use of a carpet cleaner, your participation in landfill runs, electrical parts and labor, and of course charcoal or gas grills for the cookouts. This event falls around Spring Break time, so students who are stranded in Athens will find a friendly place to spend their days without the bother of cleaning sand out of their sneaks.
Coming to the Mainstage:
The Town & Gown Players continue their 2004-2005 season with Jean Racine's hilarious The Suitors, being performed November 5th-7th, 11th-14th at the Athens Community Theatre off Grady Street behind the historical Taylor-Grady House. The Suitors, adapted by Richard Wilbur from the French original, skewers the legal profession in a madcap tale of litigation gone awry. The venerable Judge Nigaud is kept under house arrest, having snapped after trying one too many cases. His condition is certainly not helped by his neighbors, the titular suitors, Chicanneau and the Countess. The pair, obsessed with lawsuits, live nearby for the sole purpose of having a judge to hear their absurd cases. Before long, the two are at one another's throats and banging at Nigaud's door, much to the chagrin of the judge's pair of ever-suffering servants LeClerc and Petit Jean. Nigaud's son Leandre is otherwise occupied trying to pursue his beloved Isabelle, daughter of Chicanneau, who is kept captive in her own home rather than risk a costly engagement and dowry. Leandre's plight turns him into a suitor as he hatches a convoluted plan involving legal contracts, love letters, and silly disguises to win Isabelle's heart and hand despite her father's wishes. These various conflicts climax in a bombastic farce of a trial with the family dog facing the death penalty in a scene that leaves no aspect of the legal profession unscathed.
The Suitors is a fast-paced comedy for the whole family, full of clowning, slapstick, and rhyming couplets. The production features a slew of familiar local talent in its cast of comic roles and includes a few prominent law and legal professionals in its ranks. The Suitors stars police officer Andy Garrison as the disturbed Judge Nigaud and local attorney Hue Henry as the courtly Countess, as well as pre-law student Ali Carter as the wily LeClerc. Town & Gown regulars Will Riley, Joe Costello, and Katie Benfield round out the cast alongside newcomers Brooke Hatfield and Allison Pitts. Most recently seen as the title character in T&G's 2nd Stage production of Richard the Third, director Steven Carroll's previous directorial work with Town & Gown has included Moliere's The Misanthrope, John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, and Misery, adapted from the Stephen King novel. He was a founding member of the TheatreCats and has participated in numerous T&G, UGA, and independent productions over the years. For more information about The Suitors, please contact the director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ladies of the Camellias
A comedy by Lillian Garrett-Groag, directed by Dina Canup
This hysterical farce imagines a meeting in Paris, 1897, between the famous theatre divas Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse. The temperamental stars are scheduled to perform the same play in the same theatre on the same day, and everyone anticipates fireworks between the two. What no one expects in this already tense situation is the arrival of a Russian anarchist with a bomb, who holds the stars hostage. Jokes for theatre lovers abound in this wildly funny play.
Auditions are held Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 8 and 9, 2004, at Town & Gown Players on Grady Avenue (behind Prince Ave's Taylor-Grady House) at 7 pm, and consist of cold readings from the script. A copy of the script with likely audition scenes is on file at the reserve desk at the Athens-Clarke County Library.
Recognition for a Town & Gowner
Dancer, Teacher, Actor, Artist
The 2004 recipient of the Athens Excellence in Dance Award is Town & Gown regular Janet G. Robertson.
Janet has shared her many talents with thousands of dancers and performers in the Athens community through a wide variety of local institutions including the Athens Ballet Theatre, the East Athens Educational Dance Center, the UGA Ballet Ensemble, Oconee Youth School of Performace, DanceFX, Town & Gown Players, and the UGA Dance Department.
Congratulations, Janet! (You can send her your own felicitations by email.)
Visit the department's web site to learn more about Janet's attainments.
The award will be presented at the Morton Theatre on Saturday 13 November as part of the Dance Athens 2004 concert which starts at 7:30 p.m. The dance concert features performances from Athens' top dance companies and dancers. Styles include jazz, hip-hop, acro, tap, ballet, modern, ballroom, Latin, breakdancing and more!
7:30 p.m. Saturday 13 November 2004
For directions to the Morton, visit the facility's web site.
Recent Facilities Upgrades
The facilities committee is working items off its to-do list. Andy Garrison and Ben Teague will install steps and rails leading from the orchestra to the Stage Left and Right panic doors, which many cast members and patrons routinely use to get out of the theater. These should improve the safety and comfort of all playhouse users. The steps should be ready to use when The Suitors opens.
Our heating/AC plant is not optimal; one control should handle both sides, but for historical reasons we have two. It takes about 20 minutes to rebalance the thermostats after one gets jostled; newly installed plastic guards should keep this from happening.
The improvement you'll notice most, though, is the ultra-solid buttressing of the counters in the box office and refreshment sales area. You can now lean on the counters without fearing you are about to break the theater.
Coming to Second Stage:
Maire: a Woman of Derry
by Brian Foster, directed by Leara Rhodes
Homelessness and alcoholism are alive and well in Athens, Georgia. The story of each of the people we see lounging downtown, walking to the soup kitchens up the hill on Oak Street, can be seen in the character of Maire (pronounced like Myra). The play, Maire: A Woman Of Derry, by Brian Foster, is a brutal story told by one woman of how she became an alcoholic and homeless. Set in a back alley of Derry, Northern Ireland, the play reveals through the alcoholic, foul language of Maire that there were no safeguards for her in the 1970s. Her lack of education, social programs, religion, and family networks combined with deaths and losses and the bloody revolts happening in Northern Ireland, left her a broken and wounded person. The play has been produced in Northern Ireland and more than 20,000 people have seen Maire. This production features Cindy Nason as Maire. This performance will use all of Cindy's 29 years of experience to the stage in an emotional, harsh, but important portrait of a crushed woman. The play is for mature audiences only. Prior to curtain, Dale Wechsler, a renowned Athens classical violinist will present a concert of Irish music. Other talents involved in the production will include Steve Wildey (light design), Amy Wildey (stage manager), Louise Benjamin (assistant director), and Robbie York (publicity). Directed by Leara Rhodes.
Second Stage Auditions:
Auditions for Town & Gown's Second Stage production of William Mastrosimone's Extremities will be held on Monday and Tuesday, November 15 and 16, at 7 p.m. in Room 144 of Park Hall on UGA's campus.
The cast requires 4 actors: 3 female, 1 male. This production is for mature audiences only due to language, sexual situations, and violence.
The performances are January 7-9, 2005. Rehearsals will begin on November 18, with short breaks for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The show will be directed by Elizabeth Gathers, a graduate student at the University of Georgia. Elizabeth has performed in three productions at Town and Gown, assistant directed one production this season, and has acted as Artistic Director for The Thalian-Blackfriars Theatre Company and Tastes Like Firecracker Improv Troupe. Any interested auditionees can call the director at 552-0603 for further information; Elizabeth may also be reached by e-mail at QueenLiz@uga.edu.
Diversity an Issue for T&G
by Ben Teague
No one wants to think of Town & Gown as monochrome, but it is rare that a minority member appears on our stage. Why does that situation exist and what should we do about it?
Ako Cromwell raised this point earlier in the year, and a group of T&G members began a wide-ranging discussion about how our community theater might better reflect our community.
Published scripts may specify that Paul (for example, in Six Degrees) is African-American, but they ignore the ethnic identity of most characters. Since T&G directors are chiefly Anglos, they can easily default to white casting. But the matter is hardly so simple: We see very few minority actors reading with us. Most directors will respond in the same way to a good audition, by offering a part. So the issue, in one analysis, comes down to which members of the community find our shows appealing.
The people in the discussion group suggested moving in three ways: selecting more plays that do call for African-American and other minority talent, trying to reach new community segments with our audition calls and show publicity, and seeking to turn auditioners and actors into "insiders," participants in the whole range of T&G activities.
If you'd like to review the summer's discussions and maybe add to them, visit the discussion group's web page, which will lead you to a full archive of the questions and answers.
Goodbye to a Town & Gowner
Marie Hild died October 23, 2004. Marie was involved in Town & Gown productions, backstage and onstage, and served on the board of directors as Second Stage Coordinator. She also served as president of the Athena Grand Opera Guild from 1999 to 2001.
Many people who attend shows at T&G marvel at the display of posters in the lobby. Every year or two we frame up new posters and rotate some of the old ones out. What's more, the UGA Libraries have taken custody of our archives, which they can now make available to researchers.
To keep both these collections up to date, we have to have a poster from every Mainstage and Second Stage production. At the moment we are shy a couple.
If you have a poster from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead or one from Bedroom Farce, please think about contributing it back to the company. Get in touch with Ben Teague at 546-6539 or by email.
Filling the Seats with Bottoms and Vice Versa
The gradual wearing-out of our auditorium seats has been accompanied by big advances in what's available on the market to replace them. The facilities and development committees are evaluating options with an eye to raising money, removing the fixed seating and putting in stackable chairs. If the board of directors chooses to pursue new seating as a goal, the likely time of action is the 2005-6 season. We have identified a few vendors who offer appropriate styles.
In the meantime, please make yourself conspicuous. When you attend church or other activity and notice that the chairs are sturdy and comfortable, turn one of them upside down and copy the label. We want the manufacturer's name and model (name or number), and we need your comments. Minimum requirements are durable cushions and fabric, stackability and arms.
Send your information in by email or pass it to any facilities committee member.
Newcomer -- Bygone
Ako Cromwell, recognized this summer as Newcomer of the Year, will leave Athens and our company this month to work for the federal government. He made his local debut as Paul in Six Degrees of Separation and quickly became a key Town & Gowner, appearing in Second Stage's Richard III and earning a credit as assistant director for I Hate Hamlet. He also joined Allen Rowell's publicity committee.
A detective sergeant with the Athens-Clarke County Police, Ako is multilingual and has a hundred interests besides theater. He will, for example, roast and grind coffee for lobby service during The Suitors. Ako is married and has a son, Alex, whose voice was featured as preshow entertainment at I Hate Hamlet.
Ako's biggest potential impact on Town & Gown grew from a question he posed to the board of directors in the spring: How can African-American and other "minority" performers get better access to T&G? Discussion following up on his initiative is summed up in another story in this issue of the Envoy.
Board and Membership Meeting Schedule 2004
Town & Gown Players is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Your gifts are tax-deductible.
Town & Gown Players
Our website includes great links, a form to place your name on our e-mailing list, a map, photographs, history, features about our upcoming shows, and lots of other information. There's even a page where you can sign up to work as an usher, sell tickets, etc.
Hope Vance edits and publishes the Envoy six times a year, more or less, with design aid from Pamela Mitchell. Webmaster Eric Wagoner and Ben Teague designed the online version.
© Town & Gown Players 2004
Town & Gown Players, Inc. · P.O. Box 565 · Athens, Georgia 30603
Phone: (706)548-3854 · Fax: (none)
Celebrating 50 Continuous Years of Community Theater
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