"I LOVE THE THEATER.. EXCUSE ME, DEAR? I LOVE A GOOD PLAY." by Barbara Biddison
Yes, Winifred loves the theatre and she loves a good play. Lucky her, she's a character in the play INTO THE BREECHES! Her husband isn't quite on board yet, but before he knows it she's going to be talking about "rounding out the cast." So here's what happened with this play that Hamilton-Gibson is currently producing. After the first week the audiences were echoing Winifred and talking about loving a good play! I was there opening Friday night, and it was grand to be in that totally involved, often laughing, sometimes silent, always attentive, audience. The word spread, as words do in this community. They had to bring in another row of chairs for the Sunday matinee.
Now everybody wants to see this play! This Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9, were already scheduled, and we have added another matinee on the 10th! Lest you think that you have heard enough about war right now and wonder if World War ll, a play set in 1942, is what we need, I'll tell you what it does for me and many others who have seen this play. It shows me the resilience of those left at home. It gives me so much to laugh at without ever minimizing the challenges. It introduces me to characters that I love, the people left behind when the men go to fight the war. The first auditionee, the one who cheerfully rides her bicycle everywhere (saving gas for her husband's tank) keeps us loving her and laughing until.....until she has something to say. And Ida, the costume designer, sits quietly in her designated corner until she, too, has something to say. Well. it's a play, so we expect them all to have something to say, but you will listen carefully when these people talk. You will listen to them, for they have something to tell you.
I have watched this cast dig in and prepare themselves in every imaginable way. They researched appropriate clothing, and then they figured out how to change costume in about thirty seconds (more than once) during a performance. They researched 1940s hair styles for women and then made their own hair do that. They played roles that might be uncomfortable for their gender or the color of their skin. They learned a bit about sword fighting. They truly walk around in someone else's skin. And the audience can tell that, and that's why it's so funny and so moving and so engaging. It has been quite a journey to get here!