About 20 theater-oriented people showed up at a party in the garden behind the Yellow Springs Arts Council space last night to lament the demise of Center Stage and brainstorm about reviving community theater in the village. Hosted by local playwright and producer Kay Reimers, the party had all the earmarks of having been a success: attendance, enthusiasm and lots of good ideas.
Taking a just-do-it, wag-the dog approach, Reimers described her concept as "the small potatoes" of theater in the village, noting that a new building for theater would cost in the area of $3 million. Not willing to wait any longer for the Committee on the Center for the Arts to come up with a venue, she has led recent efforts to improve the acoustics in the fellowship hall in the Presbyterian Church and says she is willing to put on plays wherever feasible. Some of the other venues discussed were the old amphitheater behind the Bryan Center and locations on the Antioch College campus.
Reimers recently staged a production of Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" at the Presbyterian Church as a fundraiser for acoustic improvements that transformed the fellowship hall in ways I could not have imagined. Directed, staged, and performed by local talent, the success of the play has sparked interest in Reimers' idea to revive Center Stage.
As a first event, there will be a 10-minute play festival in the church hall in the end of October. Plays by local playwrights are being solicited and there were sign-up sheets at the party for volunteers in all areas of theater, including actors, so the playwrights will have a pool of talent to draw on in order to produce their 10-minute plays. The deadline for play submissions is September 16. For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There were also sign-up sheets to gauge interest in involvement in the revival of the Center Stage concept. While nothing concrete was resolved, the meeting was a good first step in reviving community theater. Everyone in attendance seemed to agree that, with all the theater people in town, it is surprising that there hasn't been much going on and that now is the time to do something about it.
Interested in getting involved in community theater in Yellow Springs? Call Kay Reimers at 767-8401 or email her at email@example.com.
Note: The writer is the organizer of the 10-minute play festival.