Our town is “back on the boards.” In theatre lingo, that means it's on stage, under the bright lights, acting live in front of an audience.
Next month the is honoring the memory of the Theatre Guild, which existed from 1934-36, by presenting a one-act play and a staged reading.
The play is the melodrama “He Ain’t Done Right By Nell!” This show has been delightfully adapted from its original form by society president Helen Ofield to include real names and settings from old Lemon Grove’s pioneer history. The drama features a fruit-packing house, dastardly villain, damsel in distress, dashing hero, and even a cottage on Central Avenue with roses. You can almost smell the scent of lemons in the air.
Josie Kane directs the cast of seven in a fun melodramatic romp into the Grove’s past. If you have never been to a melodrama, it is a great place to take the family and kids. This type of show depends on crowd participation—you are encouraged to boo and hiss loudly at the villain, and cheer wildly for the hero. The acting style is way over the top in expression and movement. The bigger the better, and the more fun for the audience.
Completing the double bill is a short duo reading entitled “On the Loose in Baja,” adapted by Ofield from memoir of her travels in Mexico with her husband. Ofield and yours truly share the stage as the couple, offering a string of amusing, touching, and poignant vignettes retelling their wild travels south of the border.
I also have a supporting role in the melodrama, and, as always, am enjoying the rehearsal process. This is the discovery time when directors and actors try out various strategies in order to explore their characters. Sometimes just trying something silly on stage can lead to an “aha!” moment of realization. Then it is practice and more practice, each time trying to add a little more depth to your portrayal. The rule of thumb for rehearsals is that it takes about one hour of practice for each live minute on stage. Now, if I can just get my lines memorized ...
“He Ain’t Done Right By Nell!” and “On The Loose in Baja” opens Friday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Gazebo Courtyard of the , 3205 Olive Street, in Lemon Grove.
Additional performances at the H. Lee House will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 18, at 2 p.m.
The following weekend the production moves to Sonshine Hall, 2910 Main Street, for three more shows on Friday, Sept. 23, and Saturday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m., with a final performance on Sunday, Sept. 25, at 2 p.m.
Tickets are only $10; $7 for seniors, military, children 6-18, and Historical Society members. For more information or to order tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 460-4353.