OPENING NIGHT at ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
By Friday afternoon it was "sold out!" for opening night. I was ushering for this performance, and therefore I arrived at the Coolidge an hour before curtain time. The space where the doors would eventually open was already crowded with reserved audience members
(Not reserved in the sense of quiet and proper; but reserved in the sense of having called ahead for tickets and thus been assured of a seat.) There was excitement in the air. I quietly let myself in to the performing/theatre area, and there I found the cast of 24 sitting in the front rows There was a feeling of excitement mixed with calm as director Jessie Thompson focused their attention on what they were about to do. Most of these people were "students" and, though I could guess they were excited, all the cast sat in relative quiet. Then they were released to their backstage area. And at 7 PM on the dot the doors opened and the folks waiting were allowed to enter. It was so much fun to watch them come in. It's not often that we get to see so many children at a show!
I watched to see how many children there were amongst the adults. A goodly number. I watched to see how they would choose where to sit. Of course some asked if they could sit anywhere. In this particular theatre there is no "curtain" and the stage with its "set" is in full
view, so some seemed to be trying to figure out where they could best see the action. And then there was the upstairs bedroom with stairs that led up to this little space, and everyone would be able to see that! This perfect little bedroom that would be Anne's.
Of course "the kids" are the story that pulls us in and the energy that holds us there. They range from preteen to post high school, all genders and all distinct in character on stage. I was truly impressed by their ability to stay in character and act and react amidst what was often chaos! (Remember that this cast of 24 is mostly kids!) And I loved that there were a couple mother/kid combinations and one father/kid. June Roth is a really believable and lovable and human girl as she is Anne. This Anne as written goes through a full range
of emotions during the show, and June Roth takes us there with her.
But I won't forget the actual adults. There's Lilace flying across the stage as Mrs. Spencer And David Gordon who graduates from barking pig to "doctor" in this show. And Rebecca Charles hilarious as the bossy/nosey neighbor. Then there's Herb Johnson as Matthew, the sweetest and most compassionate man on earth. And Sarah Duterte as Marilla who grows to move from resisting the taking on of a girl to being a believable caring support for the orphan Anne. There's some real acting going on here!.
Thanks to Cody Losinger, choir director in the play and assistant director overall. And to Gary Citro at the piano, without which there wouldn't be much singing goin' on. And, especially, Jessie Thompson whose subtle touch as director has created such a moving and human and
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