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      SIGNS AND WONDERS by Thomas Putnam

      midsummer cast2

      It was a short run, but a mighty fun one. Coming off the weekend of performances that we called A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S ENTERTAINMENT it feels very, very good to be able to say “That was fun.” The whole plan started out on sort of a cautious, hopeful whim; something of which I don't think I've had many of these past 16 months. We've had lots of caution, yes. Hope has been longed for but often not realized. And whims? Uh uh...not many whims in the recent past. Whims and pandemic just don't belong in the same sentence.

      But coming out of what we cautiously hoped was the end of the pandemic we found ourselves always on the prowl for a production that could work....somehow. The impetus of the whim was the desire to provide some acting experience for our intern Tim. Since our summer season was a bit a-typical, we just didn't have much to offer by way of production involvement. He got his feet wet with backstage work on DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE but it had already been cast when he arrived on the job. The radio shows were a ways away and no guarantee the four directors would cast him. We didn't produce a big musical this summer. Sooooo we came up with the brilliant idea of some short plays. Bring back “Boise, Idaho” from our zoomed staged readings this spring and let him take the role I played, joining the Himmelbergers who played in the original. And let's see if the Biddisons would reprise the Prebles, in my opinion the funniest and cleverest of the Thurber pieces they performed in the ZSR's in the spring. Add Pat Balon of THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN production and Dillon Schonwalder and we've got some entertainment. Tim ended up being in three of the five plays and played them well!

      What we ended up with was a midsummer night's (and one afternoon's) entertainment. Rehearsals all took place individually and the whole thing was only pieced together ten days ago. I must say that the group of actors in these plays were a whole lot of fun: hardworking, talented, flexible, creative, patient. I could go on and on about my favorite moments and lines in each play but suffice it to say that it was just what I needed. Judging from what the actors expressed, I think it was just what they needed. And judging from the members of the audiences I spoke with it was just what they needed. Having some great beverages and finger foods—thanks, Bev!--made the events even more fun.

      All in all it was just right. Now, on to the camp performances this Thursday and the HG Choir Concert on August 15 and the TUNE IN TO HG RADIO the following week and RING OF FIRE on August 24, 25, 26 and finally THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT in September, and Titus is fairly confident that he's got a cast for SYLVIA in October and the HGWP Woodpecker Lips in November. All in all...it's just right.

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