Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Future of Richter

Okay. A while back I posted about some strange coincidences in my life, specifically around my involvement with MAR, the theatre where I am currently directing and also where I serve on the Board.

This theatre gives me agita, truly. But a good kind. Like the kind you get when you eat sausage and peppers... You love it but you regret it later. What is worse, around every bend there is a challenge worse than the one before. As I anticipated, the departure of my dear friend and respected colleague has made it all the more challenging. Since this is MY blog, and I know that few people read it, I'm going to be what I aimed to be when I started - completely honest.

First, I have to say that I was hurt and offended when I was not approached or considered to direct either of the shows left vacant by our former President (see previous post). Of course, I did not have high hopes for this to happen, since I was never considered for the mainstage the first time around. Instead, they have hired back two directors from seasons past. I cannot really make an assessment about their abilities in this capacity because I haven't worked with them directly. In a season of such great struggle, I only hope that they lead us to success. I have to say I'm a bit unsettled by the fact that they've yet to cast principal and ensemble roles in the second two shows. But far be it from me...

Within my control, however, is the Richter Rising Stars program and the incredibly AWESOME ensemble we have put together. Over 100 people auditioned for the program and we filled all 20 spots. In fact, we are having additional auditions this Sunday, for kids that weren't back from school at the time of the initial auditions. What a thrill it is for me to go to rehearsal and hear the music that I love being sung by such talented performers. I guarantee you that some of these kids will end up on Broadway. You heard it here!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the theatre struggles as they leap hurdle after hurdle. For those that don't know, Musicals at Richter is situated on the property of Richter Park, which is shared with the Richter Arts Associaton and a nationally top-rated golf course. With the knowledge that Richter Park is being assessed by a marketing firm that specializes in golf promotion, the MAR Board entered this season with obvious concerns for our livelihood. Not too long after the season began, we received the unfortunate news that the top two floors of the Richter House and the basement were being sealed off from use because of various health and safety issues. The rooms that house our dressing rooms, sets, props, costumes and offices were suddenly no longer available. The remaining space (the first floor) has now become a shared space between Arts (the house is their gallery/events space), the childrens' theatre camp and Musicals at Richter.

Again, Richter rose to the occasion with its die-hard supporters schlepping the house's contents to various storage and temporary facilities. The room that once was known as our "paint room" now houses our new office. For dressing rooms? I think the discussion is leading in the direction of trailers, tents and quansot huts. Nonetheless, we tend to smile in the face of adversity and plow on.

And here we are, plowing the field that grows ever more rocky. Last week's challenge was the discovery that we did not have a master carpenter. Now, mind you, I have been going to the Board with options for a master carpenter since about January. But never you mind, it was meant to be handled. And it just was. This week. By me.

But wait - there's more! For years we have had the benefit of two local lighting guys that have hung and focused our entire season. However, this year, they merely dropped off the equipment and informed us that they are unavailable to hang and focus this year because they are too busy. This is such a newly constructed bridge for us to cross... All I have to say is, "Grumble... Grumble... ROARRRR!"

I know that I shouldn't be so concerned about this theatre that has treated me and most of my ideas as substandard. But I think that within the Richter Rising Stars there is the potential to save this theatre and bring it into the 21st Century! I know that there is a reason that I am hanging on, albeit by my very hangnails. Am I meant to lead this theatre? Or am I meant to start my own? Dunno.

One thing I know for certain. When my husband reads this post, he'll say neither and then say something responsible like, "Keep to your knitting." (But he wouldn't say that...)

Well, I guess the next few months will be the true test of MAR's future and how I fit into it. So stay tuned...

1 comment:

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Your husband reads your posts?