Sunday, February 5, 2012

Charleston's Theaters Offer High Class Entertainment And Opportunity For The Talented

Dock Street Theater stage
I recently did something I don't normally do. I watched the SAG Awards. I don't know what came over me. The beginning of the program captured my attention and from there I just lingered. At the opening credits, different actors and actresses who were nominated for awards recounted how they got into acting.

Listening to the nominees speak of their first experience with acting took me back many years ago, back to my first part on a stage in a live performance. I was eleven years old. It was a school play. I played the lead role as Robinson Crusoe in an adaptation of the novel written by Daniel DeFoe called "Robinson Crusoe." I also played a minor role as a pirate in the play. In my role as a pirate I wore the typical pirate eye patch. There was this one scene where I got the two characters crossed. I stepped out onto the stage as Crusoe wearing the eye patch. I forgot to remove it after the conclusion of a previous scene as the pirate. I didn't realize my wardrobe mistake until I looked out at the audience, and there was no turning back. Somewhat embarrassed, mostly self inflicted, I muddled through the scene. My error went unnoticed, not a word was said about it. The play was a success.
Dock Street Theater mezzanine seating

If you enjoy acting and would like to participate in a live stage performance, Charleston theaters offer opportunities for individuals to audition for parts in upcoming plays. I have personally given consideration to auditioning. I think it would be an enjoyable experience. I am just waiting for a good pirate role to come available. On a recent outing into Charleston, I walked through two of its theaters, talked to some of the staff, and took pictures. It was richly informative and no, I didn't see or hear any ghosts.

Charleston Stage is the resident acting company performing at the Dock Street Theater. The Dock Street Theater was the first building in America built exclusively to be used for theatrical performances. The original building burned in the Great Fire of 1740, which destroyed many of the buildings in Charleston's French Quarter. In 1809 the Planters Hotel was built at the location. The Hotel ultimately fell into disrepair and slated for demolition. It was saved and efforts began to turn it into a theater once again. It reopened in 1937 as the Dock Street Theater. In 2007, it closed again and after a three year 19 million dollar renovation, the theater opened its doors again in 2010.
Dock Street Theater bar

The Dock Street, located at 135 Church Street, is a beautiful proscenium space theater with seating for 430 people--proscenium space refers to the front stage between the curtain and orchestra. The ornate wood interior gives it a warm, rich feeling. It has mezzanine seating with an excellent view of the stage and is outfitted with state-of-the-art lighting and sound. The theater hires actors from the Unified Professional Theatre Auditions for their Resident Acting Intern Program, which is held in February of every year. If interested contact Charleston Stage auditions. You can also volunteer to work backstage or on costumes and scenery. If interested contact Charleston Stage volunteer opportunities.
Footlight Theater stage

The Footlight Players are associated with the Footlight Theater located at 20 Queen Street. The building was originally an old cotton warehouse built in 1850. At first, it was only used for storage and scenery construction. After a dramatic renovation in 1986, the Footlight Players moved into the building for good. During my walk through, I noticed all the seats had a small metal plate mounted on the backs with names of people engraved on it, some stating "In memory of" and others "In honor of." They are individuals who made donations to the theater, some still living, some not. When those still living buy tickets for plays they can request their permanently reserved seat, if they choose to do so.
Painting on a wall in Footlight Theater

The Footlight Players are very similar to the Flowertown Players when it comes to auditions. It is open to the public. They are presently taking auditions for "The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged)" scheduled for opening March 29 and will run to April 7. March 4 and 5 auditions will be held for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Six men and seven woman will be needed to fill the roles. March 18 and 19 auditions will be held for "Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)." Two men and two woman will be needed for that play.

The Flowertown Players, James F. Dean Theatre in Summerville, held open auditions on January 10th and 11th for the 1966 stage play written by Frederick Knott called "Wait Until Dark", which will be presented beginning March 2nd. The film adaptation released in 1967 starring Audrey Hepburn thrilled audiences and was ranked tenth on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments for its climactic scene. Perhaps, you remember the climactic scene when the theater dimmed its lights, then turned them off after each light on-screen was shattered one by one by Susy Hendrix(Audrey Hepburn), resulting in the theater being plunged into complete darkness. Seconds ticked off in that heightened state of suspense. Then surprisingly, the killer leaped from the shadows. My friends literally jumped out of their seats. It will be interesting to see how the Flowertown Players will duplicate that infamous scary scene.

So, join in the fun of acting, if you dare. If not, buy a ticket and enjoy the show. You can not beat the feel of a live performance. Maybe, you will see some crazy guy up on the stage wearing an eye patch, wielding a sword, and inviting you to "Drink up me hearties. Drink up."


Yvonne Kirby said...

Thanks a lot for blogging this, it was unbelieveably informative and helped me tons.
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Vacation Rick said...

You are welcome Yvonne.