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franklin county times
Abbey Jones, Scotty Kennedy, Hannah Jackson, Mary Elizabeth Moore, Jerry Self and Tina Smith make up the cast of the most recent BTCPA production, “The Miss Firecracker Contest.”

Embracing local drama

Do you remember, in early March, when I shared with you my short-lived attempt at being an artist?

Do you want to hear the very similar spiel about my foray into acting?

“I actually don’t, thank you very much.” I hear you. I’ll keep it short.

Keeping it short won’t be hard, because I acted in exactly 1.5 plays as a child before my budding hobby fell apart. Yes, half a play – that’s when you attend the majority of rehearsals for your role as Dogpatch Kid No. 7, but then your family moves away, and you decide not to make your mother drive you the 30 minutes back and forth to the community theatre.

They didn’t really number us – I made that part up.

And although I would have been a very good crowd scene extra in “Li’l Abner,” just as I was a stunning crowd scene extra in “Oliver!” the previous year, that marked the end of my stage career. It didn’t, however, mark the end of my love for theatre.

I’ll start by saying I’ve seen some amazing shows on Broadway – “Les Misérables” was my favorite, followed closely by “The Lion King” – but what I really want to share is how I never cease to be amazed by the talent you can find in local school and community theatre.

If you haven’t seen a performance by Russellville City School performing arts students or a production from the Bay Tree Council for the Performing Arts in Red Bay, let me tell you: you are really missing out. These two groups do a fantastic job of bringing shows to the stage in a big way in Franklin County. I’ve been privileged to help get the word out about several of these shows during my almost-two-years here at the Franklin County Times, and it has allowed me to get a unique behind-the-scenes look.

When I say “behind the scenes,” I don’t mean just getting to attend dress rehearsals and see what the stage looks like as the backdrops go up and various props take their appropriate places behind the curtain. Sure, I’ve gotten to do that, but when I talk about getting a behind-the-scenes peek at pre-performance, I’m talking about more than that.

There’s so much that goes into these productions – so much passion, so much drive, so many hours and hours of learning lines, memorizing songs, practicing entrances and exits and whether to stand here or there or six inches to the left. These people who participate in community theatre, whether students or adults, have so much talent, it’s really unbelievable. I love what they do when they bring a story to the stage – whether a long-loved favorite or a new and unfamiliar tale.

Lucky for you, you have two chances coming up to see these groups in action. RCS will present its middle school spring musical “Honk!” April 27-28 at 6:30 p.m. at the RCS Auditorium ($5), and the Bay Tree Council will present its final show of the season, “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” April 27-29 at 7 p.m. and April 30 at 2 p.m. at the Weatherford Center in Red Bay ($8).

Neither group has asked me to perform as a crowd scene extra – and let’s face it, that’s probably for the best.

Go on out there and support local theatre.

 

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