Tonight I will take some rehearsal photographs of “The Little Theater’s Production of Hamlet” directed by Jean Warren, one of our Brazosport Center Stages Superstars. You can make your reservations here. I hope to post some shots of the rehearsal here later in the week. The show opens Friday night, April 27.
Superstar is a recognition of lifetime achievement for theater arts volunteers who have made outstanding contributions in acting, directing, producing, and technical theater at Brazosport Center Stages. Jean is a BCS Superstar and was officially recognized by the Board of Directors at the 2017 annual meeting.
I had the pleasure of working with Jean in 2013 in her production of “Camping with Henry and Tom”. The play is a fictionalized dramatization of a real 1921 camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding. As Thomas Edison I had a good many lines to learn and, at the age of 70, that was not easy. At the annual meeting the next summer, Jean gave me one of her show awards. It was a small cast so not too many people were denied the honor by her act of kindness. I still kid her about giving me an Oscar for remembering my lines. Actually, for almost remembering my lines, most of the time.
Not many people came to see “Camping with Henry and Tom’. It is a good play but not well known. However, based on the response of those who came, I must say that I feel a little sorry for all those who missed it. Raymond Wells (Henry Ford), Davis Gordon (President Harding), yours truly (Thomas Edison) and Jeff Gilbert (the cold-blooded Secret Service agent along to protect the president) put on a pretty good show, they say. Wells and Gordon carried me along most of the time making sure I remembered when I had a line and finding a clever way to cover for me when I failed. As the Secret Service agent, Jeff Gilbert didn’t have many lines but he had a cold stare that gave me the willies when I tried to make a joke about his job of caring for his boss’s safety.
Katie LeFave took the archive photos, one of which you will see below. The great inventor sits on a stump in his white suit reading — bored with the whole camping scene — while Henry Ford (back to the camera) and President Harding (knee-in-hand to Edison’s right) try to draw him into the conversation. Three good old boys in their suits with a government agent to protect them out to rough it for the weekend.
I am occasionally asked when I plan to go on stage again by someone who must think I will take it as a compliment. My answer is that I will never do it again. Trying to deliver lines from memory in front of people who paid for tickets is one of the most terrifying things I have ever done. And it can’t be any easier at 75 than it was at 70.
But I think you will enjoy Jean’s latest offering. People seem reassured when they hear that it isn’t the actual Hamlet but, rather, a comedy based on the efforts of small town folks just like us. And they seem to be mastering their lines and timing. See you at the play.