Bennington Community Theatre – The Dining Room

The Bennington Community Theatre will be opening its first production of 2019 at the Oldcastle Theatre om May 3-5. The theatre is now in residence at Oldcastle Theatre in downtown Bennington. Bob and I spoke with Christine Decker who is directing this production of A. R. Gurney’s delightful play, The Dining Room.  Community theatre provides an opportunity for people to become involved as actors, directors, lighting, sound and other technical aspects of  theatre. From production to production it is possible to shift roles, acting in one production and working on the set in the next. Chris talked about the upcoming production as well as opportunities for future performances.  Since the work is all volunteer, the cost of the tickets is greatly reduced giving more people a chance to see some fine plays.

Listen to Chris and then click on Bennington Community Theatre. For tickets call 802-447-0564

Interview with Christine Decker

Bennington Community Theatre

 

Christine Decker

 

The Dining Room rehearsal

 

Love Letters

img210This is a rare opportunity to see a number of actors perform one of  A. R. Gurney’s best known plays, Love Letters  at the  Unitarian Universalist Meeting House,  108 School Street, this weekend February 11 and 12. The play consists of two characters reading letters they have written  each other over fifty years. The Bennington Community Theater is presenting three performances. At each performance, two different actors will play the characters.

The performances are Saturday at 2 pm and 7 pm and Sunday at 7 pm. We talked with Christine Decker who is directing the performances and Robert Ebert, the producer. As one of the country’s leading playwrights, Gurney uses a variety of different formats in his plays while commenting on our contemporary world in an entertaining fashion.

Here are the links to our interview.with Christine and Robert.

Love Letters Interview Part 1

Love Letters Interview Part 2

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For more information about the Bennington Community Theater, here is a link to their website. They also have a Facebook page.

Bennington Community Theater

Jeffry Bradway and Kathleen Thunberg Saturday, 2 pm. (no photo available)

 

Erika Floriani and Drew Davidson Saturday 7 pm.
                                    Erika Floriani and Drew Davidson Saturday 7 pm .

 

 

Mike Cutler and Laura King Sunday, 7 pm.

 

Bennington Community Theatre Update

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Shay Francis

After a successful first year, the Bennington Community Theatre is preparing  for this coming year. Shay Francis, the President of the newly formed Board of Directors, and Drew Davidson, the Vice President, talked to us about last year’s accomplishments and the group’s  plans for 2016.

Bennington Community Theatre Update Part 1

Bennington Community Theatre Update Part 2

 

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Arsenic and Old Lace

 

Cast of Big Bad Wolf
Cast of Big Bad Wolf

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Arsenic and Old Lace

12190822_1496587983970229_636491344867476054_nArsenic and Old Lace is a delightful comedy which was a successful play and movie, opening on Broadway in January 1941 and running for 1,444 performances before closing in June, 1944. Given its large cast, it is not often done by equity theatres.  However, with its large cast and  funny situations and dialogue, the play is ideal for community theatre. Two elderly spinsters live in a big, old house in Brooklyn with their eccentric brother.  Descended from those who arrived on The Mayflower, the Brewster family  is not what it was.  Just how odd they are, both the audience and their nephew Mortimer discover in the course of the play. It is not just the Panama Canal in their basement that is peculiar. You will have a delightful time finding out all about this unusual family.

The Bennington Community Theater is based on the idea of providing low cost, quality theatre that engages members of the community as audience and performers, and also giving the proceeds of the play to a worthy, local institution. The beneficiary of this production is the Bennington Free Library which is offering a lovely display in conjunction with the play. One can also buy tickets for the performances at the library. 10407968_973073186064580_5455062864072924621_n

Check out the Arsenic and Old Lace book display in the main reading room. These titles riff on some of the play’s plot points.

Two performances of Arsenic and Old Lace will be held at Oldcastle Theater to benefit the library on November 6th and 7th at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $10.

Robert Ebert was on Theatre Talk to discuss the play as well as tell us more about the Bennington Community Theater.

Robert Ebert Part 1

Robert Ebert Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ts7i84mUr3M“>

The Big Bad Wolf

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Big Bad Wolf Poster

Ever since fairy tales were told they have been retold and rewritten in different ways to respond to different audiences. The Bennington Community Theater is offering  the tale of the Big Bad Wolf rewritten by Shay Francis as its first production on Friday, May 29 at 7 pm at the First Baptist Church on Main Street. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for children six to twelve and free for children under six when accompanied by an adult. There will be refreshments and free coloring books about the show for the children.

The goal of the Bennington Community Theater is to provide affordable theater for both children and adults and to give members of the community the opportunity to participate in the theater as actors, directors, stagehands and all the other tasks that are  part of putting on a show. They also accept donations. Learn more about them by visiting their web site www.benningtoncommunitytheater.com

We had the pleasure of interviewing the playwright and director, Shay Francis, actress Marina Calvo and producer Robert Ebert on Theatre Talk last week. We also got some pictures of the rehearsal of Big Bad Wolf in its early days.

Rehearsing Big Bad Wolf
Rehearsing Big Bad Wolf
Rehearsing Big Bad Wolf
Big Bad Wolf rehearsal

Conversations About Theatre

A group of people in Bennington are working together to create The Bennington Community Theatre. One of the reasons for doing so was the impressive work by the students in Chris Decker’s Acting Class. Watching scene presentations at the end of each series of classes, it became clear that there is a great deal of talent in our area.

Bob and I have enjoyed many community theatre productions at the Dorset Players, The Ghent Playhouse and the Vermont Theatre Company.  Like Dorset, Bennington is fortunate in having an equity theatre company in town. Oldcastle Theatre Company has been offering stunning professional performances for forty-four years. In its relatively new location on Main Street has continued delighting audiences. Some people have wondered if having a community theatre is any threat to Oldcastle. Experiences in other communities show that not to be the case. The more theatre, the more theatre. What it does mean is year round theatre in Bennington. Oldcastle primarily performs in the summer. Meanwhile, it has  shared its space with other performers such as Ida Faiella’s L’Ensemble, Bread and Puppets and other arts organizations. The Bennington Community Theatre’s first full length performance will be Arsenic and Old Lace directed by Christine Decker, Oldcastle’s Educational Director, at Oldcastle at the end of October.

Our son and daughter-in-law have worked in community theatre in New Jersey, a state with many community and professional theatres. We were lucky to have an interview with Chris Decker about community theatre and her teaching as well as a conversation with Paul and Maren about their experiences in community theatre and teaching acting.

There are four segments to each interview, starting with Christine Decker. The second four segments are with Paul and Maren Sugarman. If by any chance, the programs do not appear on your copy of the blog, just click on the url.

Bennington Community Theater

For sometime people in Bennington  thought that in addition to our professional, Equity theatre company, Oldcastle, it would be good to have a community theatre that could put on plays during the time that Oldcastle was not in production. Part of this interest came about because of Christine Decker’s acting classes for adults that take place at Oldcastle.

Community Theatre involves people who love theatre,  but who do not plan to work in it full time. They volunteer their services onstage and backstage and have a wonderful time doing it. Bob and I have enjoyed Community Theatre performances at the Dorset Players and the Ghent Playhouse among others. As Community Theatres produce plays,  the members become more and more skilled in all aspects of theatre.

Good ideas need someone to  get things going. Robert Ebert is doing just that. He has been an active member of the Bennington Community since he arrived. He has the program News and Views on WBTN and has produced a number of radio plays on the station. He also organized the Play Readings on the Veranda series at the Park McCullough House in 2010 for the Season of Mystery. He  started the History Book Club and is an active member of the Baker Street Breakfast Club,  a Sherlock Holmes society. He has also served on several boards.

Thanks to Robert’s organizational skills, the Bennington Community Theater is  a not-for-profit group with its own bank account and Post Office Box –  Bennington Theater Company, P.O. Box 746, Bennington, VT 05201. The email address is benningtoncommunitytheater@comcast.net The company  will soon have a Facebook page. Be sure to look for it. They will  rent the Oldcastle Theatre for their first production at the end of October which Christine Decker will  direct.

Robert wants as many people as possible as possible involved both backstage and onstage. Part of  the proceeds from ticket sales will go to local non-profit organizations. One can become a friend of the project for  $50.00, but any kind of help  is welcomed either financially or by assisting the company in other ways.

Robert talked about the Bennington Community Theater on Theatre Talk and is willing to talk with any organization that  would like to hear more about it. People might also be interested in listening to Christine Decker and Miriam Silver talk about the acting classes that were the  inspiration for this project.

Be sure to click on the url to listen to the programs.

Robert Ebert

Christine Decker and Miriam Silver