Not all the drama’s on the stage, ingenuity and creativity go into overdrive as the Town Players of New Canaan prevails over crazy circumstances in preparation for the opening of their 65th season hopefully on Friday, November 4th
Some think the audience never needs to know what it takes to open a show: just welcome people and hope everyone enjoys a good evening of theatre. Usually, that’s just fine. But, in preparing Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, the Town Players has had to deal with very unusual circumstances and just perhaps New Canaanites need to know that spunk and creativity are alive and well at the Powerhouse. That’s saying something considering that Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus will be the Town Players’ 203rd production.
The last ten days have been wild and woolly! Sometime on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning of October 25/26 the Town Players’ Amadeus poster disappeared from the railroad station poster fence, discouraging since the honor system usually so beautifully prevails there. The only recourse: order a new poster, an expensive proposition. Since Amadeus occurs in the late 18th century and because the Town Players’ costume mistress, Deborah Shields Runestad, who quite often designs and constructs costumes from scratch, was expecting her first child in late November, the decision was made to rent costumes and wigs, estimated delivery October 28th. The plan was the actors would try on costumes Friday and Saturday, Debbie would confirm what alterations needed to be made, and there would be a “safety pin” photo shoot on Sunday. However, news came the costumes and wigs would arrive on Hallowe’en.
High drama struck suddenly. The storm knocked out both power and a large branch at the Powerhouse and baby Gwendolyn Jean Runestad arrived four weeks early Sunday morning. Indomitable and not to be deterred, producer Robert Doran went in to overdrive! Steve Gravereaux came up with a generator. An ingenious blending of the 18th and 21st centuries made the stage sufficiently warm for rehearsals to resume Tuesday night. Blocking cold air from the auditorium and conserving warmth on stage provided by an electrical heater being used to keep the actors, director Lynn Bolton and stage crew warm, Town Players actor and crew member Ed Donahue hung blacks (theatre terminology for black velvet curtains) where Jezebel, the Town Players show curtain normally hangs. Portable work lights, mounted on ladders, are providing light in the lobby and on stage. Carole Kaye who has produced and costumed other Town Players’ shows has stepped in to oversee alterations.
Whether Amadeus can open as scheduled this Friday, November 4th depends on CL&P. Stay tuned. Dear readers, please consider reaching out in the warm hearted New Canaan way and come to the Powerhouse to see Amadeus. Thank the Town Players not only for their Herculean efforts to open Amadeus on time, but also for 65 years of continuous live theatre in New Canaan. Amadeus will run weekends thru November 19th. To reserve seats, please call (203) 966-7371.