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Community Theatre Production Charley's Aunt
- March 1-2, 2012

Tri-City Ministries' second Community Theatre production was a huge success. There was a full house both nights, and the dinner theatre was all but sold out. By 6:30 there were only a few scattered seats left. By 7:30 the anticipation in the room was palpable. And by 8:00 most of the audience had gotten their money's worth in laughter! And there was so much more to come! Comments from the audience included: "I laughed until tears rolled down my cheeks!", "My ribs actually hurt from laughing so hard!", and "I wanted to see it again!"

The Community Dinner Theatre has improved in quantity and quality in this only its second year. The basic meal was merely the prelude to the pièce de résistance of the evening: Charley's Aunt, the play that has been called "the most famous farce in the English language." Set in the late 1800s, Charley's Aunt tells the story of Jack and Charley who wish to propose to Kitty and Amy. The boys invite the girls over with Charley's aunt from Brazil as a chaperone. However, the aunt sends word that she can't make it and the boys are stumped; they want to propose to their girls but there must be a chaperone! Lord Fancourt Babberly provides the answer when he steps out dressed as an old lady for the “amateur theatricals” he's involved in. Forced to play the part of Donna Lucia, Babbs is hugged and kissed by Kitty and Amy, proposed to by Jack's father and Amy's uncle, and finally meets the real Donna Lucia who shows up under an assumed name.

Over 300 people attended the performance on Friday evening. There was a festive atmosphere in the packed auditorium throughout the entire evening. The play was also performed to over 100 people on Thursday evening, and to a privileged few at the dress rehearsal—including the Ball family who had family members in the cast but were ministering in India during the actual performances. This year the audience consisted of mostly church family and friends. The first couple of years we're “working out the details” before we start making a big push for community involvement. But eventually this fun-filled event will be a wonderful opportunity to feature our ministry to the community.

The cast was drawn from various ministries. The four college students were played by International Baptist College students Kayla Deyton, Klay Klemic, Adam Mott, and Elisabeth Owens. Chris and Tessa Ball were cast as Sir Francis and Donna Lucia while Jesse and Katie Muldoon played Babbs and Ela. Eric Alexander as the unflappable butler Brasset and Patrick Meyers as Stephen Spettigue rounded out the cast of 10, which began working on the play before Christmas. And rehearsals got more and more intense until production week. Most folks comment, “Wow. There were a lot of lines to learn!” but they don't even realize that memory is the easiest part! Once the easy part is done, the cast begins working on interpretation, characterization, pacing and timing, projection, reaction, and myriad other skills that the audience never notices—if they're done well!

Though the entire production was sponsored by International Baptist College, the evening involved folks from almost every entity on our campus. Assistant Director Marianne Domico also organized and managed her crew of make-up folks. Pam Eddington designed the lovely "Gibson Girl" hair. Anna Fosnot collected and managed the many props. Sam Bullock took a week off work to set and run the lights. Trevor McClosky and Emily Tjepkema ran sound—no easy feat with 11 different microphones being used for this show. Becky Stertzbach designed the look of the costumes, borrowed, rented, and bought pieces, and recruited Barbara Jakucki and our own Barbara Hoyle to alter some costumes and build "the dress." Susannah Dornan managed the costumes. Darin and Esther Fletcher managed tickets sales, acted as house managers, and managed the crew of volunteer ushers and greeters. Vanessa Iwaniuk designed the lovely table decorations. Bob and Jeana Kamp built the imaginative set with help from Jimmy Dornan. The Perrins and the Keys donated their time to prepare and serve the dinner. Theresa Trogen coached a group of high school students to sing a show choir presentation of "I'm Sittin' on Top of the World" for intermission and curtain call.

Plans are already in motion for next year's production—including an even better dinner! Pastor Dave announced on Friday evening that for next year he is looking at a mystery play by the queen of mystery herself—Agatha Christie! What a joy to be part of a ministry in which unity among the church family produces such a testimony to God's faithfulness!

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See the program...

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