and Old Lace September 17-25, 2010
by Sharon Poulsen
Arsenic and Old Lace, a dark comedy by American playwright, Joseph Kesselring, was selected
by the Greater Escambia Council for the Arts for its name recognition. Performed during September, 2010, it proved to
be a “good fit” for GECA and was well received by audiences. The combination of seasoned actors and newcomers
provided a stage chemistry that transported audiences into the quaint home of the Brewster sisters, where murder was a mercy.
Quirky characters, strange circumstances and the appearance of a long-lost nephew kept audiences entertained each night.
It’s A Wonderful Life December
10, 2010 by Pamela Dees
It’s A Wonderful Life was a radio drama adapted from the popular movie by Phil
Johnson. The audience got to see the setting of a 1930s studio in which the radio
drama was produced. I enjoyed noticing the different voices (with very different
personalities) that the same person would produce. Someone listening on the radio
would have no idea that it was the same person. A young boy’s voice was
generated by a woman, but if I closed my eyes, I could picture the gangly legs and cowlick of the young boy. The Foley team was also fun to watch. The clumped shoes across
a table, broke glass from cheap picture frames, and thunder by shaking a big piece of thin metal, dropping in a tub of water for when he fell in the river, blowing into microphones to make snow storm
The Wizard of Wonderland
February 18-20, 2011
by Dana Hursh
The Wizard of Wonderland was GECA's children's play this year, and
I was fortunate enough to land the role of Dorothy, which was challenging as well as very rewarding. I had a fabulous time
with our awesome cast as we ran lines, blocked scenes, painted our wonderful 'Tulgey Woods' set, and of course, hit the stage
floor countless times when the Red Queen told us to bow down. :) However, on Sunday, the day
of our last performance, my stomach lurched as I watched our lead run offstage because he got sick. A million things ran through
my mind as the entire cast was frantically trying to cover. Thankfully, we covered, and by the time the curtain closed I was
shaking like a wet kitty cat ... but also insanely proud of what our somewhat younger cast had just accomplished!
in the Valley’ April 1-10, 2011 by
‘Peace in the Valley’ – that phrase used to inspire visions of gentle
breezes, fluttering butterflies, and babbling brooks where soft, furry woodland creatures spent their days happily grazing
in the warm spring sunshine. I used to think of those things when I heard that phrase, but not anymore.
When I was asked to join the cast of this hilarious play, I was excited. First,
because I had been wanting to see if I could still remember lines at all and here was my opportunity, and also because I figured
being a ‘cranky, old lady’ wouldn’t require any acting on my part. In most places, a play in a funeral
home might be peaceful, quiet, and even boring – but not in Hellsneck, GA! I was suddenly surrounded by the craziest
characters I had ever had the pleasure to meet, who found themselves in situations that not many people could imagine.
But I’m glad one person could imagine them. Thank you, Gene Embry, for thinking up these loony, delightfully insane
characters and putting them in such enjoyable, impossible situations. It was so much fun to be a part of this madness.
I’ll always remember the characters fondly – even the ones who spoke ill of Mrs. Rice (and I know WHO you are).
I sometimes wonder what those characters are doing now, although I think I know that Bubba was taking a much needed vacation
in Merry Old England in the late summer!
Watch June 17-19, 2011 by
This past June, I had the privilege of being a part of GECA's production
of Night Watch. Our director, Jerry Janes, had originally intended to do a Neil Simon comedy entitled "Star Spangled Girl",
but he changed his mind after seeing GECA's primiere of "Peace in the Valley", an original work written by a local playwright.
Instead of trying to compete with such a laugh-out-loud comedy, we went in a totally opposite direction and put on GECA's
first thriller. We weren't sure how people would respond to the show. It was very dramatic and full of suspense.
From opening night on, though, we were thrilled with the response we got. Hearing gasps from the audience when the shocking
ending was revealed was my personal favorite moment. As a cast, we all thought the audience would figure out what was going
on by intermission; however, we realized after talking to people that the ending was not at all easy to figure out. We had
people coming up with so many different scenarios for the ending.
Haley Pearson was spot-on as the leading lady. For someone as down-to-earth
and friendly as she is, she played "psychotic" very well. I personally loved having people come up to me and calling me a
"hussy" and an "evil slut". I even had people telling me and Dusty Mason that we deserved to be shot in the end. I hope that
means we played our parts well.
My Fair Lady
August 5-13, 2011
by Pamela Dees
My Fair Lady has been called “the perfect musical,”
and it really was for us in the summer of 2011. With a cast of 28, it was small
enough for our still improvised dressing area, but large enough to still give the feel of a “big musical.” The cast included our own Ellen Johnson, who literally grew up on stage in GECA, as
Eliza; Jerry Janes, cofounder of GECA, as Colonel Pickering; and the inimitable Norm Boyd as Henry Higgins.
Most of the cast got to change back and forth between being commoners and snooty aristocrats.
All the elaborate costumes we got to wear gave us a feel of playing dress-up. There were lots of jokes about most
of us coming from South London, since both our proper English and our cockney accents were tinged with a little bit of good
old southern drawl. The set changes were amazing, with walls being rotated, furniture being rolled on and off, and with
me at one point standing in the midst of all this organized chaos, holding a teapot and a basket of china and goodies, waiting
for a table to be placed so that I could set it for tea. And having Lord Kensington come out as Bubba for the final
curtain call put the icing on the cake.