I used to do some community theatre in Southern Maryland. Then I took an eleven year break. I hadn’t even been doing it that long; a few years. It was a lot of fun and I met some wonderful people. If you are new to a town and looking for friends, volunteer at your local community theatre. It’s usually brimming with interesting and creative people who often are friendly.
I’d been living here in Greenbelt for about a year and half when I saw on the Greenbelt Arts Center (GAC) Facebook page that they were looking for people to audition for a show called Come Back to the Five & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. I sent a note asking if they needed production crew as well. And they did. I sent them my very short theatre resume and the producer, Andy, welcomed me on board. I was officially the set dresser and props mistress for the show. I am a HUGE fan of vintage and era related set decoration and props, so this was a really good fit for me.
It’s always a little nerve wracking for me when I am in a new group. I’m pretty friendly but you just never know what you’re walking into. Will walked me to my first production meeting at the community center. Turns out he knew a bunch of the folks by coincidence. Known as “Bill” to them from back in the MAD theatre days (we’re talking a couple of decades ago). You really couldn’t meet a nicer bunch of folks. So he spent a few minutes hugging and chatting and just generally being glad he’d come along.
This was the first show I’d ever officially decorated and propped by myself. I had done a few with my friend Karen and we’d made a great team and I learned a whole ton of great stuff working with her.
I got my concept down and theories about the show and checked in with the director. I had some help from the cast and producer and a few other helpers who were great at procuring things I could check off of my list and added some authenticity to the stage. It was a really good team, I think. And a good show to step back into doing a bit of theatre work.
The show was set in 1975 with flashbacks to 1955, without set changes.
The two clocks on the set were stopped at 5:45 – the time of James Dean’s death.
A bulk of the stuff on the set was borrowed from two of my friends, April and Hopi and some belonged to Will and me.
The theatre is within walking distance of where I live. That makes it extra awesomely convenient.
The set was designed and built by a very energetic and high spirited young woman named Liz, who also played Sissy in the play. Also, her organizational skills are unparalleled!
The vintage style candy was purchased at Cracker Barrel in Shrewsbury, PA. The people there were incredibly helpful and excited about what I was doing. I really need to send them a link to this so they can see what it was for.
Instead of doing a modern newspaper, the idea of just doing a “clipping” was proposed to me. I used some newsprint purchased at my local craft store. I made up some fake news stories based on the 70s. Nobody could really see the front side, it was the back most folks saw. But you have to have printing on both sides so that it looks authentic or you break the spell. I cut the paper to fit into my printer and made a graphic to print on the front and back. Here is what it looked like:
REVIEWS OF JDJD
The next show coming to GAC image below. SUPPORT LOCAL ARTS!