Growing up in Jacinto City, Texas, I was well within the urban lasso of Houston, yet I was insulated from its cultural amenities by barriers of transportation and income. Downtown Houston was a 30 to 45 minute bus ride from Jacinto City with lots of stops along the way for pickup and dropoff. We could do a few of the things that were free such as the zoo, the public parks, the art museum, and the free concerts at the Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park. But those were rare occasions and I grew up without an ear for good music, with the barest exposure to the visual arts, and no experience with drama beyond the plays I saw on our high school stage.
My participation in the arts did not improve much as an adult after moving into the city proper and having a better income of my own. This reduced the impact of the barriers of distance and income but did not eliminate them completely.
Then, in 1982, we moved to an exurban area of Brazoria County – south of town, Lake Jackson. We were far enough removed from Houston that its urban amenities were virtually out of reach. For the kids in the poorer homes in our area, they were distant dreams if they were dreams at all.
But not long after arriving here, we learned that the performing and visual arts were available, affordable and a quick three mile drive down Oyster Creek Drive to the Brazosport Center for the Arts and Sciences.
My posts have tended to dwell on the things we have done wrong politically, socially and economically and continue doing wrong. Those things form the basis of the pieces carrying the title Our Bitter Legacy. But, of course, there are some things we are doing right. The Brazosport Center for Arts and Sciences is one of them. It argues for recognition that we are also at work on our legacy of hope.
Brazosport Center Stages opens The Little Theater’s Production of Hamlet tonight in the Dow Arena Theater. The play will run two weekends. Reservations at The Center for Arts and Sciences.
I have seen several rehearsals. The only big disappointment is that Sharon Barnes starts singing “How Great Thou Art” as she works alone in Hattie’s Restaurant but stops when the New York director, Lauren McTeer played by Laura Woodson, enters.
Somebody may slip Laura some money to get her to miss her entrance so Sharon will have to finish the song.
My personal archive of theater shots is on Flickr. Please feel free to go there and have a preview of the The Little Theater’s Production of Hamlet. It opens tomorrow night, April 27. I am still “in the darkroom” with the photos I took at the Monday rehearsal, so check back occasionally to see if I have posted more of them.
As a preview for your preview, here is Laura Woodson, playing a New York director gone to West Virginia to take Shakespeare to the boonies. Please, Will, tell me why we are doing this to ourselves?
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.