Drama's in the Air

I got my first part when I was an eight-year-old Girl Scout in the second grade. I still remember my favorite line: "Granny, what BIG teeth you have!" I wore the cutest costume. It was red all over with a fly-away cape. I felt like a superhero. I bet you figured out that my character was Little Red Ridinghood.

 

I should have listened to my mom. She told me not to walk in the woods alone. She told me never to talk to strangers, but I didn't listen. Thank goodness the woodcutter came along!

 

There's always drama in the Drama Club.

In my junior year at my all girls high school, I auditioned for and was cast as the lead in Marcelino Pan y Vino. Marcelino was a small child abandoned by his parents on the steps of a monastery in a small village in Spain. The monks raised this mischievous, yet lovable, little boy.

As the curtain rose on the first performance in front of about five hundred fellow classmates and my teachers, I felt hundreds of butterflies crashing against my stomach walls. I waited in the wings … and waited … and waited. Sr. Marietta, my Spanish teacher and the director of this play, told me to go out on stage. But still, I stood frozen to the floor. I saw the friars sitting around the dinner table, chatting amongst themselves. I knew I had to run onto that stage, but I couldn't. Finally, Sr. Marietta hissed at me and gave me a swift push. The stage lights blinded me, and magically my lines tumbled from my mouth as I stumbled across the stage toward the friars. I have no idea how I got through those forty-five minutes in the limelight, but I did. I don't remember much of that afternoon, except for the thunderous applause during our curtain-call.

I do know that, with that performance, I was bitten by the theater bug and I couldn't wait until my next performance.

There's always drama in the Drama Club.

It would be a couple of years before I would take the stage again. I was a freshman in college, and I belonged to a very small theater-group. I played Emily in a one-act play by William Saroyan called Hello Out There.

 

I don't remember having stage-fright for this show, and I don't remember my director having to thrust me onto the stage. I do remember that my parents traveled three hours from Erie, Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh to see my performance.

There's always drama in the Drama Club.

In my college sophomore year, I was cast in The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman. I loved that show, and we spent hours and hours rehearsing for it before, between, and after classes.

 

It was a controversial show in the late 1960s because its topic included lesbianism and suicide. But, the director fought the administration and convinced them to allow us to perform it.

Unfortunately, about a week before opening night, the leading man left school with no warning--never to be seen by us again. Sadly, we never performed the play.

I sometimes wonder what happened to him.

There's always drama in the Drama Club.

Nutley Little Theatre

Nutley, New Jersey

I wouldn't take the stage again for many, many years. Marriage, raising children, and a teaching career took center-stage for several decades of my life.

It wasn't until both children went off to university and I neared the end of my career that I stepped behind the curtains of the stage again.

I joined the Nutley Little Theatre and immersed myself in all aspects of theater--painting the set, being assistant stage-manager, welcoming patrons as the house-manager, sitting on the Board of NLT, as well as being an actor.

I loved being a part of the cast of A Bad Year for Tomatoes by Patrick Lynch.

I played Willa Mae Wilcox--the crazy lady down the street with the purple gnomes in her yard.

 

I was part of several Reader Theater productions and acted in several plays. It was fun to be a part of a singing act that performed Hard Rock Candy Christmas.

 

My monologue of a homeless woman defending her park bench in Bench, written by Joe DelPriore, was quite unusual and fun.

Sordid Lives by Del Shores was a hilarious production with a twist. Peggy was the twist, and I was Peggy. In the last act of the show, the lights came up on a pink coffin with me (Peggy) in it. I was as still as a bug in a rug. The preacher dropped a Bible on me. I didn't move. Latrelle and Sissy ripped a fox-fur stole from my shoulders. They lifted me up to remove it and unceremoniously dropped me back into my coffin. Not a peep from me. Then Peggy's grandson, Ty, shouted at Peggy in the coffin. Didn't phase me. I ignored him. It was hard not to laugh throughout those antics! But, I zoned out, and I didn't!

 

The audience thought I was a mannequin, and they were shocked when I sat up in the coffin at curtain-call.

What fun!

There's always drama in the Drama Club.

Willa Mae Wilcox/aka Me

A Bad Year for Tomatoes

Peggy/aka Me Sordid Lives

Director's Assistant

Dec. 2012 Sordid Lives

Assistant Stage Manager

Feb. 2013 Glengarry Glen Ross

Jun. 2013 I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Actor

 

Fleece

 

Bench

 

All the City Lights

Workplace Bullying

 

Sordid Lives

A Bad Year for Tomatoes

A Twisted Yuletide Gathering

Director's Assistant

May  2014 Old Flames

Then we moved to the desert. A serious criterion for me was that my community has a working theater. It did and it does.

The moving truck pulled away from our new home in October 2013. By November 2013, I was an active member of the Sun City Grand Drama & Comedy Club.

 

We have two stages here. The little black-box-theater where we stage Cabaret Players is a Reader's Theater. That means that the actors have scripts in their hands. We perform four short skits for each production, and we perform three times a year.

The "big" stage, as we fondly call it, seats 284 patrons. We offer our audiences plays like Fox on the Fairway, Nana's Naughty Knickers, and Dixie Swim Club. I was stage-manager for each of those rollicking shows.

These theaters keep me overly busy. I am on the Play Selection Committee. I oversee the Membership Committee and provide Meet & Greet orientation meetings for new members, and I am on the Board, which monitors the activities of both the "big" stage and Cabaret Players. I have also acted in Cabaret Players.

In the midst all of this, I joined a traveling troupe, called "On the Road Productions." We performed at assisted-living complexes within an hour of our homes. It was such fun and so rewarding to see the smiles and hear the laughter of our elderly audiences. Willa Mae Wilcox from A Bad Year for Tomatoes was revived, and I got to play her again.

There's always drama in the Drama Club.

Assistant Stage Manager

Nov. 2014 Whose Wives Are They Anyway

Stage Manager

Mar. 2015 Bell, Book, and Candle

Nov. 2016 Sex Please, We're Sixty

Mar. 2017 Dixie Swim Club

Oct. 2017 Nana's Naughty Knickers

Mar. 2018 Fox on the Fairway

Actor

The Revenge of the Red Feather Ladies

Doctor, Doctor

Ruby of Elsinore

You can learn more about Me at my blogs:

 

Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury

 

Donna O’Donnell Figurski’s Blog

Contact Me:

donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com

The desert

Visitors to My Site

Follow Me

 

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram LinkedIn

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Pinterest Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon

    © 2018 by Donna O'Donnell Figurski