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      I was reminded of gifts that are considered “in kind” recently as a number of objects and services were offered to HG and to this production of WEDDING BELLES in particular. Jim Reifer re-arranged his schedule to come down and help with some set-issues—like hanging a door, and affixing clapboard to Laura Lee’s porch. Linda Young spent three half-days creating a back-yard feel with bricks and dried lawn, in addition to house-painting the afore-mentioned clapboard. Noyes Lawton shored up some wobbly walls. David Thomas offered thousands of flowers and greens to create the feel of an overgrown gardener’s back-yard. Michele Comes assembled costumes appropriate for 1942. Pat Balons hauled in over 100 bricks and real flowers and dead weeds to give the garden an authentic look. Three un-named people dropped off paint. (We are always open for donations of those paints that are cluttering up your closet or garage.) Nate Wilcox did computer magic assembling the sound effects and inter-scene music.

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      There’s a line in WEDIING BELLES that always catches me off guard. It comes at a tender moment in the second act when the young Ima Jean gently, but clearly, reminds the older women of the incredible importance of interpersonal connections and commitment to friendships. Ima Jean refers to her life growing up without these connections: “Back at the orphanage, I was one of many, many, many. Nobody paid no attention to me. I’ve always been like a piece of torn newspaper caught on a barbed-wire fence, blowing lonesome in the wind.”

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      Back in the summer of 1968 or somewhere around there, I was a high school student and was cast in an MU graduate student’s production in the old Allen Hall of BLACK COMEDY. It’s a long one-act and we had a blast performing in it. I thought I was pretty cool acting with university students since I was just high schooler.

      That summer holds some very vivid memories. I can remember the production, and one of the actors—a professor at MU—who was hysterical in his role. I can remember a woman in the front row of opening night laughing raucously and how fun it was to elicit that response. I can remember the perfume of the MU student who played opposite me.

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      The Artistic Planning Committee is in the midst of planning for the 2018 Season. You may have seen a few mentions on Facebook asking for suggestions of favorite shows or plays that you think HG should produce. We’ve gotten some interesting and varied responses, but facing the decisions regarding a season are kind of like shopping at Wegmann’s and I get overwhelmed with the number of choices.

      A number of years ago some audience members encouraged us to produce shows that were edgy and possibly controversial. Salty, crude language was a plus rather than a caution. We asked audiences during curtain speeches what they thought about that, and the vocal responses were affirmative.

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      Wedding Belles 7758We’re working on a play called Wedding Belles. It takes place in June of 1942. My parents were married in June of 1942. It takes place just as our involvement in WWII kicks into gear. The play is packed full of little references to life in a small town in the US at this critical turning point.

      At one point in the play, a young 18 year old tries on a number of different wedding gowns. She’s poor and family-less. She hasn’t had much to live for until she meets a young man who sees value in her, who affirms her. And in this scene some new-found friends—older ladies of a garden club—provide her with their own wedding dresses as possible attire for her quickly arranged wedding.

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