Friday, February 1, 2013

The Newcomer

The writing exercise was started with the line: "The reviews ranged from good to ecstatic."

Of course they did. Bill, the editor of the local paper was married to Gina, the actress in the little theatre groups who always had a leading role. It wasn’t that Gina was that great an actress but the company knew that as long as she was in a play, Bill would write good things about it, and that would mean the townspeople would be more apt to pay for tickets for their next production.

The group usually put on light comedies, some classic stuff like Neil Simon plays. 

Now there was a new element in the group that seemed to avoid the normal battles of many little theatre groups.

Jason Hanson, had moved to this small Maine village from New York, and he and his wife had joined the Down East Players. He was in his middle fifties and claimed to have been associated with a number of off Broadway productions.

Fred Anderson, who had been the director of the Down East Players for the last 20 years, wanted to like Jason, wanted to say he was delighted to have some backup, but he couldn’t. 

Jason was stomping on his territory, taking over his baby. Fred was never one to lie, so he stuck to things like, “Jason has an interesting background.”

The group was meeting at the clubhouse/theatre in mid-January. The meeting before had been cancelled because of a blizzard. Everyone had brought a nibbly and the treasury provided wine.

“You’ve never done a musical,” Jason said. “Maybe we should try something like Cats or . . .”

Aha, Fred thought. “That’s interesting. Sally, do you know memories?”
Sally, a woman in her forties who considered some of her best friends ice cream, cakes and cookies, looked at Fred. She knew he knew what her voice was like.

She took a deep breath. “Memories, not a sound from the pavement.” If she'd hit one right note no one would have known it.
“Thanks,” Fred said.
In turn he asked three others to sing the same thing. Betty was the closest to singing something people might want to listen to, but even she hit several wrong notes. Fred had gone caroling with her at Christmas where she'd carried the group.

When she finished she winked at him.

“Maybe not a musical,” Jason said. The others nodded.

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