For July, Throw Back Thursday is going to look back at productions that have an American flair or a classic. We are going to start off July with an MVLCT pride and joy: our Slices of Life play festivals.
Photo Credits: Marianne Taylor & Andrea Gorsh
FROM BRADEN JP ROOD (PRODUCER, DIRECTOR, ACTOR, NINJA)
Oh, Slices of Life!
Our little play festival, that started off as a fun little idea that didn’t have more than 15 plays submitted the first year, to the beast it became the next time around when over 200 plays from all over the world were up for consideration, and finally a festival in our new home (FSCC Uptown Theatre) with a focus on our local playwrights–cuz why not hi-lite the talent in your own backyard?.
These shows were an opportunity for people to be on stage, but not have to make a huge time commitment, or try a different role that they had never considered–playwright, stage crew, director, but not be overwhelmed with a full-length production, and most importantly, meet so many people and see what a true community theatre is.
I loved what we created, I loved wearing so many hats–sometimes literally, I loved working with my “Partner in Crime”, Amy White.
Slices was at the perfect time of year–trying our hardest to brush off winter and have something to warm our hearts and our souls.
It formed into other play festivals–Animal Facts and most recently Roots and gave all of us in MVLCT a chance to work together.
We have certainly been served a lousy slice of life lately, but looking back on these productions has made this time easier and makes me look forward to being together again.
FROM AMY WHITE (PRODUCER, PLAYWRIGHT, DIRECTOR, ACTOR, NINJA)
New play festivals were popping up everywhere back in the early 2000’s and since we knew a handful of playwrights living right here in our town, we decided to do our own.
We organized our first Slices of Life as a dessert theatre and held it in Heritage Hall, the second floor of the Lisbon Library.
At intermission we came downstairs to the adjoining Southeast Linn Community Center for dessert–slices of cake and pie, of course.
With at least ten different plays and casts, we barely had enough room in the building for the actors and crew, not to mention all the people who wanted to come see them!
We kept the name when we moved the show to our FSCC space, and even though we no longer served up desserts, we involved dozens of volunteers as writers, directors, actors and crew members in plays that had never been produced before.
It was a lot of work for the producers (Braden and me) who were often serving in other roles as well, but there was so much joy and satisfaction in getting all of these people together to do something brand new on stage that all I remember is the fun we had.
We used contentless A/B scenes (A: Hi. B. Hi, how are you?) for auditions and everyone had a ball meeting new people and trying something new–the very heart of community theatre.