Oct 192014
 

Are you looking forward to another appearance by that grand old merry man in the red suit? Well, then, you’ll be happy to know that Santa himself is visiting ECP December 4 – 7 during our annual holiday varitey show production.

Santa will be part of our home grown production featuring your friends and neighbors.  So take a break from the hectic pace of life, sit back for a spell, enjoy some songs and skits set to days gone by in a radio show and have some good cheer!

Production Team
Produced by Cindy MacKechnie
Directed by Amber M. Couture and Dana LaClair
Choreographed by Jennifer Corbiere
Cast
Donna Boisselle
Roger Dodge
Amanda Dunbar
David Gaworecki
Billie Hall
Dick Hibbert
Eli Jones
Roni Lesage
John Mauger
Ted Posner
Susie Posner-Jones
Jasmine Roupe
Audrey Wilbur
 Posted by at 11:04 AM
Oct 192014
 

PROOF explores the world of mathematics and mental illness through Catherine; the mourning daughter of a genius mathematician who has recently passed away, and her struggle with mathematical genius and mental illness. Catherine had cared for her father through a lengthy mental illness. Upon Robert’s death, his ex-graduate student Hal discovers a paradigm-shifting proof about prime numbers in Robert’s office. The title refers both to that proof and to the play’s central question: Can Catherine prove the proof’s authorship? Along with demonstrating the proof’s authenticity, the daughter also finds herself in a relationship with Hal and her seemingly overbearing older sister Claire; who came to town to take care of funeral arrangements and Robert’s estate. Throughout, the play explores Catherine’s fear of following in her father’s footsteps, both mathematically and mentally and her desperate attempts to stay in control.

PROOF takes place near the University of Chicago in pre-internet modern america (80′s-90′s).

PROOF is directed by Eric Hill.

Roles

Robert Robert (50′s; father of Catherine and Claire) is a retired teacher at University of Chicago, where he worked until he became mentally ill, believing aliens were communicating to him through the Dewy Decimal system. Robert is also a graphomaniac, meaning he has an obsessive need to write. Robert’s personality contrasts between when he is healthy and when he is not. The unhealthy Robert is calm and loving, and he accepts Catherine’s choices and wants her to be successful. When he is healthy he argues much more and is rude to Catherine and others. One reason for this contrast could be that Robert is happiest when he is working whether he is healthy or not.
Catherine Catherine (25) delayed her college education so she could stay at home with her father while he was ill. Now that he is dead she is stuck between where she wants her life to go and where it has been.
While he was alive Catherine got along well with her father and had a great deal of patience with him. Her patience with Claire is the exact opposite. She is mourning the loss of her father and has a radical
shift from caring for him to only having herself to care for. She feels the need to protect not only herself but also the memory of Robert. Catherine may also be afraid of all the choices she needs to make and is able to make. Her impatience could be a reflection of that fear.
 Hal Hal (28) is a former student of Robert. He has a great deal of respect for Robert as a mathematician and once dreamed he would contribute to mathematics in similar ways, but now feels he is too old to contribute at all. Hal’s intentions are never completely clear throughout the play, although he claims his actions are for the sake of Robert and mathematics. Hal genuinely loves math and is willing to dedicate the majority of his time to it, but whether he has the same dedication to others is unclear.
 Claire Claire (29); unlike her sister, is not a genius. But she works hard and is successful. She has been financially providing for her sister and father while he was ill. Now that Robert has passed she has taken on most of the responsibilities at home, with the funeral, and with the estate. Although the two sisters argue often Claire loves her sister and holds herself responsible for what happens to her. Her protective attitude towards her little sister extends when they are away from one another as well. This is different then the way she acted toward her father when he was ill. She did not want to care for him herself and suggested putting him in a hospital. These two opposite responses could be because she had a bad relationship with her father, but could also be because she feels so protective of her sister.
 Posted by at 10:54 AM  Tagged with:
Oct 192014
 

It is late in the 15th century. The Italian city states are in turmoil. The king of Naples, Alonso, and his court are returning from the wedding of his daughter to an Algerian prince in Africa, when their ship crashes on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Accompanying the king is his son Ferdinand, the king’s brother Sebastian, the present Duke of Milan Antonio, and various courtiers and sailors. On the island is Prospero, the former Duke of Milan, who has caused the shipwreck by his magical arts, and who 13 years earlier had been set adrift with his infant daughter Miranda by King Alonso and Antonio. Will Prospero exact revenge upon those who ruined his life?

“The Tempest” is a complex play full of mystery, passion, symbolism, humor, magic, and drama. All characters are fully realized and integral to the plot. In addition to the named roles, there will be a number of parts for island spirits who speak, taunt, sing, torment, and perform the “play within the play”; my hope is to incorporate middle school and high school students into these roles, but not necessarily to the exclusion of adults.

As part of the production, there will be two weekends of Shakespeare play camp prior to auditions. These are optional. It will be a fun way to learn about performing The Bard’s work, or just a chance to goof around if you already have Shakespearean experience.

Auditioners are advised to read the play (maybe even more than once). There are many good versions available that include notes, interpretations and analyses. Once the show is cast, it will be a mad wonderful dash forward with no looking back.

“How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in’t!”

The Tempest is being directed by Cheri Gagnon.

Sep 092014
 

Essex Community Players is proud to present

 The Spitfire Grill

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A lively musical about redemption and second chances. It’s the story of a small town beset by hard times and the three women who bring hope and vitality back to their community.

October 2 – 5 & 9 – 12
Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays: 7:30 PM
Sundays: 2 PM

 

Jul 102014
 

Essex Community Players is pleased to announce the cast of our upcoming production of the musical “The Spitfire Grill”

spitfire leavesHannah Ferguson: Ione Minot
Percy Talbot: Amber Couture
Shelby Thorpe: Nan Murat
Caleb Thorpe: Keith Willis
Sheriff Joe Sutter: Ron Caldwell
Effy Krayneck: Kayla Tornello
The Visitor: David Dilego

Producer: Richard Hibbert
Director: Josh McDonald
Music Director: Connie Cooney McDonald

“The Spitfire Grill” will be presented at Essex Memorial Hall
October 2-12, 2014

May 172014
 

Though “Our Town” is done theater goes on.  Get ready for auditions for “The Spitfire Grill”!

Audition Times June 1 & 2, starting at 6:30pm; callbacks June 4 at 6:30 pm
Audition Place Memorial Hall, Essex
Show Dates October 2-5 and 9-12
Directors Josh and Connie McDonald
Producer Dick Hibbert

 

The Spitfire Grill is based on the award-winning film by Lee David Zlotoff, and depicts the journey of a young woman just released from prison who decides on a small town in rural Wisconsin for her fresh start. Her arrival sets the town on a journey toward its own tenuous reawakening. The score is uniquely seasoned with folk and bluegrass flavors.

A perusal script is available at Essex Free Library in Essex, and at Brownell Library in Essex Junction.

Questions about auditions? Conflict with the audition times? Email josh-mcdonald@comcast.net.

Notes About Auditions

  • Attend either day
  • Please bring your calendar with you to note schedule conflicts!
  • Please, please, please be on time.
  • No appointment necessary
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you can move / dance in
  • No need to bring prepared material–the singing and dancing pieces will be taught; we will be using readings from the script.

Character Descriptions

Percy Talbott Early 20s. A bit rough edged, with strength and sadness. Mezzo range to D.
Hannah Ferguson About 70. A tough-skinned and flinty old bird with a short, no-nonsense manner bordering on the bitter. Mezzo/alto chest range.
Shelby Thorpe Mid-30s. A plain, mousy creature with a shy almost ethereal nature. Shimmering folk soprano to D.
Caleb Thorpe Early 40s. Out-of-work foreman of the stone quarry. Frustrated working man clinging to the past. Solid folk/rock tenor with an edge (top G).
Sheriff Joe Sutter Mid-late 20s. Small town policeman with a restless nature. Strong folk tenor to A.
Effy Krayneck 50s. Postmistress and busybody, a woman with narrow eyes and a sour tongue. Mezzo/alto chest range.
The Visitor Mid-40s. A mysterious figure who never speaks or sings. An actor with powerful eyes and a very strong sense of his body.

 

We hope to see you at auditions!

May 172014
 

This weekend is the final to see our production of “Our Town”.  As someone who worked behind the scenes and is in the production I can say, without hesitation, that it has been a wonderful experience to be in “Our Town”.  The cast and the crew have created one of those “once in a while something comes along that is truly special” productions.  Last night the audience was rising to their feet in applause before the lights were down.  Sunday’s “we are done” is going to need some hankies to wipe away the tears.

The show is (today) Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday at 2:00.  There are just a few tickets left, so if you want to see it, now is a good time to get tickets!

Here are a few pictures from a rehearsal.  Enjoy!

The Stage Manager

 

Doc Gibbs, the Stage Manager, and George

 

Emily

 

Doc Gibbs and his wife Julia

 

Doc Gibbs and his wife Julia

 

Rebecca and her brother George

 

Mr. Webb, wife Myrtle, and George

 

 

Apr 062014
 

Well, Our Town has passed the halfway point in rehearsals, and the play is starting to lift itself off of the printed page and come alive. It is very exciting to see. The challenge with great plays is to be able to do them justice – to rise to the level the playwright set. The entire cast has shown a wonderful sense of commitment, and I think that Mr. Thornton Wilder would approve of our efforts.

Then again, I may be a tad biased.

Nevertheless, it is a joy to watch these rehearsals unfold. In many ways, community theater is out there on the front lines of the theater world – with no lavish budgets to cushion the experience, and with personnel both onstage and behind the scenes toiling at regular jobs at the same time their energies are tapped by the show’s ever-growing demands upon their time, it is a testament to these people’s dedication to creating these alternate worlds that productions get mounted at all – month after month and year after year. It’s a lot easier when one is well compensated for his or her contributions, and props or set pieces or costumes seem magically to appear, as in the world of the professional theater. Not so in our corner of the universe, in which a monumental effort is required to assemble all of the pieces that make a show. The effort is all the more impressive for this reason.

Our Town is an undertaking of significant proportions; the efforts of literally dozens of people have coalesced into a small army of volunteers, all pursuing the same goal: To put on the best production we can. This effort is repeated many times a year, and not just at the Essex Community Players – it extends across all of Vermont and the rest of the country – and beyond.

In today’s whirlwind of economic woes, an increasingly balkanized culture and uncertainty about the future, the fact that community theater is still so popular, and still attracts so many hardworking individuals from every walk of life who want no more than the satisfaction of knowing they contributed to the creation of something positive, it is a most life-affirming experience indeed to be a part of it.

Yes, I think Thornton Wilder would be pleased – not only of the final product we will proudly present to our audience, but of the entire undertaking. After all, Our Town is about appreciating the value of individual moments in our lives, and there have been so many such moments forged already in the mounting of this production that we can surely say we have paid homage to the spirit of this great play in the best way possible: In our humble way, we are living out its creed.

– Adam Cunningham, Director

 Posted by at 8:54 PM
Mar 162014
 

IMG_9677My heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped to make “The Cemetery Club” a remarkable success, to the audiences, who accepted these characters into their hearts, laughed with them, cried with them and told their friends what a wonderful show it is.

To Dick Hibbert who agreed to direct the show sight unseen, then put together a wonderful cast and brought the characters to life, to the cast for their many, many hours perfecting the emotional roller coaster of their roles, to Carol our stage manager who kept everything together, and to the crew, to many to name, who brought us a set, lighting, sound, costumes, props, refreshments, tickets, raffles and more, I thank you all.

Sincerely,

Art Kilmer – Producer

Feb 212014
 

The Cemetery Club – Final Week!

Essex Community Players is presenting Ivan Menchell’s “The Cemetery Club” March 6-9 at Essex Memorial Hall.  Performances run Thursday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 with Sunday matinees at 2:00.  Tickets $14 – $16.  Get them now – tickets are rapidly selling out!

A gentle and touching comedy that reflects on human relationships, the passage of time, and how we deal with the inevitable changes that life – and death – present to us. Playwright Ivan Menchell brings us characters who are very human; and through their interactions with one another, we are invited to consider our own humanity and to laugh at ourselves even as we laugh at the story being played out before us.  We trust that you will come to love them as we have.

Order tickets!

Low Res Final Small Poster

Directed by Dick Hibbert

Robin Owens as Ida

Betsy Jaffe as Lucille

Ramona Godfrey as Doris

Josh Palace as Sam

Nancy Hale as Mildred

Additional Information photos and a clip from the show