Friday, February 22, 2008

A Trip to Bountiful

I went to tonight's sold out performance of A Trip to Bountiful . JoAnn and her cast should feel very satisfied with the community support for this production.

It was my first visit to the Port Isabel Yacht Club. I found myself wondering how much of the current furnishings etc., are original to the building. Another item to put on my list of regional things to learn more about. Emerging from the building and becoming enveloped in the mist and fog, it was easy to imagine what a history this place must have had. The Yacht Club was constructed in 1927 when Port Isabel was just beginning incorporation. Al Capone and Amelia Earhart were early guests. If only walls could speak.

By eliminating the need for a large stage area and elaborate set, the reading theater concept worked nicely for a small "home-grown" dramatization. Director JoAnn Evans describes this theater style in the plays program:

Reader's Theater is "theatre of the imagination. It is a medium in which two or more oral interpreters through their oral reading cause an audience to experience literature.

Readers Theater differs from the conventional play in various ways. There is no attempt made to create the sense of reality on stage. A narrative voice guides us through the story. There is no set, little movement, and the actors use what is called an offstage focus. The performers do not look at each other on stage as they would in life, but visualize their characters toward the audience in front of them. They can leave the scene simply by turning away and looking down at their script. The performers create images using their voices and physical expressions, and these images are formed not on stage but in the minds of the audience and the readers themselves--that's where the action takes place. Therefore, the audience is as much involved in the performance as the readers are.

Griff is a loyal fan of old time radio and when I read the above description I was reminded of the program "Theater of the Mind". These broadcasts, the TV of the past, engaged the listener in much the same way as what JoAnn describes.

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