My Mockingbird 

I love theatre. I love being on stage. As much as I love the stage, I also for as long as I can remember, have wanted to direct… and I finally had my chance. I directed To Kill a Mockingbird for our Fall production. 

I can see your eyes! Yes, I chose to direct a cast of over 30 actors as my first production. And before you ask, Yes I am crazy! But who could say no to Mockingbird? It’s a beautiful, powerful story. It is a story of truth…. of love and hate. I remember reading the book in middle school, and once again in highschool. It was one of those books that stay with a person. So yes, I was honored to direct this play. With everything happening in our country, it was a story that needed to be retold.

Ok, so more about the show. Let’s start with the set….

Hello, fabulous set! Welcome to Maycomb, Alabama! My friend Gilly designed this set. He took what I had in my head, and made it 100x’s better than my vision. The man is honestly a Master in set design. Such a creative soul. He’s one of my favorite people, and not because he made my set fabulous, I liked him before I knew of his mastery carpentry skills.

I wish I had taken a picture of the Courthouse. You can see some of it in the collages I will post later. It’s simply amazing to have the turntable…. you see, you just roll off the doors, turn the houses around and roll on two more platforms…. BAM! Courthouse.
I think, for me anyway, the hardest part of directing was casting. You really have to put aside your relationships. In Community Theatre, you become a family. It’s so hard to not break someone’s heart. I focused on the show only. There were some roles I knew instantly, some I struggled with, but in the end I followed my gutt. It could not have been any more perfectly casted. That i am proud of.

These actors were phenomenal. Each and everyone of them, together, brought this story to life. I wish I could talk about each one of them, but this blog would turn into a novel, and who wants that? Though I do have to talk about a couple…. 
The kids…. my Scout, Jem and Dill. These three young actors were impressive. They took direction with ease. These were the ones that lifted me up when I felt like giving up. Just watching them on stage was well worth the stress of my first time directing. Olivia (Scout) is such an amazing actress. This kid makes me smile just walking on stage. Mason (Jem), this young man is going places. He makes me see that no matter what your struggle is in life, you can still be amazing. I love this kid! Nathaniel (Dill) has so much energy, the kind you wish you could bottle up and sell. He has such awesome stage presence! Very talented, and will forever be my DillButt.

My Jean Louise (older Scout), I knew casting this role wasn’t going to be easy. I needed a story teller. See the role of Jean Louise was that she was remembering what happened… telling us the story. When this lady got onstage, I knew instantly that she was my Jean. If you have never seen Ramona on stage, you are missing out! She is such a pleasure to watch on stage, so incredibly talented.

Then there was Atticus. To be completely honest, I hoped this man was going to audition… when he told me he was, I could not wait for his audition. He didn’t prove me wrong, Brant was my Atticus. Pure perfection. I pretty sure he was made for this role… move over Mr. Peck!

My friend Erica auditioned and took the role of Calpurnia. Erica is a beautiful soul, she is a mother of a toddler and an infant and still found time to this show, many nights with a baby strapped to her. That’s commitment. Erica was very passionate about this show. She also singularly got our cast together to go to the highschool and talk to the Honors English class, that had read To Kill a Mockingbird, to talk about our community and racism. I adore her. Oh, and not only that…. she roped her husband into playing Reverend Sykes.

We found our Tom Robinson working at KFC. Well actually Gilly found him…. walked right up and asked him if he’d ever been interested in acting. To our luck he was! Quentin is an absolute doll! Such a natural on stage. So happy to have him!

And then there was Jewel… Ike, who played Mr. Gilmer, begged his beautiful wife to play the roll of Helen Robinson. Thank you Ike! She did so well! 
I could go on and on, there are so many I missed. Thank you all for being apart of this journey in my life. For making my dream even bigger on stage. For Mark who was the meanest Ewell ever! For Jess who gave Mayella the perfect sass. For Jim who played Sheriff Heck, he always gives his all. To my beautiful Miss Maudie and Miss Stephanie who were flawless. For Rebecca for stepping up and taking an extra role when our dear Laura had to have surgery. To all the techies, you all rock! To every person who helped get that amazing set done, thank you! To the kids that sat through an entire courtroom scene without flaw and kept me giggling with your face expressions. To all the Townspeople, the Mob, thank you for so graciously being apart of this show. To Ike who always keep my attention, thank you for doing what you do so well. To my Boo, Jerry, thank you for everything. A big thanks to my wonderful friend Vicki for helping me stay in line during rehearsal. To Christy for taking over as stage manager, you will always be my hero. Most of all to my producer Della, my rock! I just adore this lady, she is honestly the best! Thank you! If I forgot someone I’m sorry, I still love you!
So the season is over. The fall production was a success! I’ve never been so proud of being apart of something powerful. Til next season…..

My Adventure in Oz

I got to spend the last weekend in Oz! Yes, you read that right! 

Once a year, in Beech Mountain, NC, The Land of Oz has an event called “Autumn in Oz”. Land of Oz was once a theme park, that had been shut down. You may have read articles of the park, about it being “abandoned”, well this is not true. OZ is still alive and full of magic certain times of the year. Check out there website for more details! @landofoznc.com
This was my first year at Oz. Oh what an experience. From the make up and costumes, to the guests that kept me smiling. I will never forget this past weekend.
I had the opportunity to play two characters – a Munchkin and an Ozian. Now I know either is as cool as Dorothy or a witch….. but it was still just as exciting! I can’t tell you the feeling it brings, the magical feeling of being apart of something so special. The stories from the older generation of when the theme park was up and running, bringing their children over the summer, the love they still have for this place as they share this experience with their grand children. The excitement and love as the children run up to their favorite characters. Guests of all ages dressed up in costumes. It’s just such a special gift to share with others.
The makeup, did I mention the makeup? These ladies are spectacular!! 

Their is something even more special than the yellow brick road…. it was the people behind the scenes. The cast, the ones that keep it all together, the EMT’s, the ladies that keep our bellies full. Every single person from the seen to the unseen. These people are amazing. I had the chance to work with some I have worked with before, just in a different environment. I got to see friends I haven’t had the chance to see in a while. I met new friends.

I wish I could of had the chance to talked to all the cast members. Hopefully I will be asked back again next year and get the chance then.