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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Fauquier Community Theatre You Can’t Take It With You

By • Dec 3rd, 2009 • Category: Interviews

Mike: This is Mike and Laura Clark with Show Biz Radio. Today we are talking with Ted Ballard who is directing Fauquier Community Theatre’s current production of You Can”tTake it With You. Thanks for talking with us today, Ted.

Ted: Thanks for coming down and seeing the show and asking me questions.

Mike: So tell us what the show is about. Give us a brief summary.

Ted: Basically it is a love story about a young girl and young man who are in love. There is a problem with them getting together because their families come from two different parts of society. The young man’s father is the president of his own company and the young lady’s family is a little on the eccentric side. When the two families come together there are some difficulties which cause the parents of the young man to think maybe it is best for the two of them not to get married.

Mike: I thought it was really interesting seeing the different creative aspects of the family. The Sycamore family you had a dancer, a writer, a painter, and a musician. They all came together. Was that fun to work with them to develop the different parts of their characters?

Ted: The script calls for each of those different characters. When I cast the show I just thought in my mind now who do I know not necessarily are those characters, but who do I know who has done those characters before or has the talent to pull them off because I wanted each character to be so distinct. It worked even with the large number of people in the cast. Everyone has come along well with their distinct character.

Mike: It really is a large cast. You don’t see that very often nowadays.

Ted: No, this show was written back in the late ’30’s as often is the case. They would cast a large show because if you did the show on Broadway you could pay all the small parts. All the walk on parts. We have the G-Men who come on at the end of act two have a few lines and they are off. We have Miss Wellington who comes on appears briefly and is off. In a community theater production it is not that easy to cast people who are willing to spend so much time at rehearsals, not getting a salary, who come on, say a couple lines and walk off. Community theater tends to use a lot of tech people for back up for those roles. I was lucky getting a cast.

Mike: We heard you were having trouble with lots of people getting sick during rehearsals and missing sections. How did that work out?

Ted: Grandpa actually fell down at his house and injured his leg. The question was whether he was going to have an operation to repair a ligament in his leg. At that point we were three weeks out from opening. my concern was that we would lose Grandpa.I would really have been in a bind. So I got on the phone and had several backups standing by just in case. As it turned out fortunately the injury was not that bad he did not have to have the operation and is doing a great job as Grandpa.

One of our G-men got sick last week and was diagnosed with swine flu and the doctor suggested that he not come back because he was in the contagious stages and he would probably be over that by the beginning of the week. So it was best that he NOT perform this weekend, but he will be performing next weekend. And then we have had people just out sick off and on. We had one person who came here that had apparently eaten something earlier that did not agree with him and got pretty sick here and had to leave and was out for another rehearsal. But as you see it al came together. Everyone seems healthy.

Mike: Tell us about the set. I like how you used the space. It is a uniquely shaped stage area we have here at Fauquier.

Ted: The difficulty with this set is that the basic stage was built for a movie theater and not for a live performance. The two side walls are permanent and they come in at a pretty sharp angle. I had to come up with a living room that had a staircase going upstairs. It had a kitchen door and it also had to have a basement door and a front door. That was just too much to put on stage. So what I did, I ended up not having a front door, but having a front hallway. You can’t see the front door. It was very difficult to locate the stairway going up, but I ended up putting it right in the middle of the stage. It seems to work. We seemed to have some depth there with the hallway and the steps and then the kitchen door on the right. There is a suspension of disbelief as to where those stairs might go. They actually go into the kitchen. But that’s what we had to do with such a small space. And also with a cast of 18 people on stage at one time. It seems to work.

Mike: I did notice you had lots of people hanging out on stage and then running through for various things. Such as Donald running back and forth.

Ted: Especially during the scene when all the fireworks started to exploding we had to choreograph each person’s blocking. I did each person’s blocking so everyone knew exactly where they were going to be and then we would do them altogether at the same time so they would not run into each other. Each person was given a mission. Mr. Kalenkov was to run and hide under the table. Essie was to run over, grab him by the leg and try to pull him out from under the table. Ed was to run around the table and then hide behind the couch. One of the G-Men was to chase him. Everyone had their own mission. Except Grandpa. Well, Grandpa’s mission was to sit and relax in his chair and start reading his book because nothing phases him. Gay was at the table singing. They were the only two who did not seemed to be phased by the house being on fire and the fireworks going off and everyone running for their lives. Penny was trying to save her scripts. It was choreographed and it all worked out so that no one runs into each other.

Mike: So the show opened Thanksgiving weekend. Is it dangerous doing a non holiday show during the holidays?

Ted: I did not have anything to do with the date. When I was asked to direct the show, they gave me the performance dates and I thought it was odd that they would pick this weekend. My concern was that most people would be out of town or spending the weekend at home taking a break from work and that we might not get a good turn out. I am pleasantly surprised at the huge turn out we’ve been getting the first three days. Especially the Sunday matinee when the weather is nice outside we probably had close to 100 people today. I don’t have a head count. Over 100 people last night. Very happy with the turn out. Hoping next weekend the word gets out, the show is going well, and we will get good numbers again.

Mike: Ok, well let us know how people can get tickets and the dates of the rest of the performances.

Ted: Well you go to the Fauquier Community website and follow the instructions to ticket purchases and you can order your tickets. If you do not want to do that you can just come to the theater and purchase ticket at the door.

Mike: Okay, well that you very much for talking with us, we do appreciate it.

Cast

  • Penelope Sycamore: Lori Muhlstein
  • Essie Sycamore Carmichael: McCall Doyle
  • Rheba: Christina Clayton
  • Paul Sycamore: Greg Crowe
  • Mr. DePinna: Joe Bersack
  • Ed Carmichael: Brian Doyle
  • Donald: Mikel Costello
  • Martin Vanderholf: (Grandpa): Jack Seeley
  • Alice Sycamore: Hannah Malinowski
  • Henderson: David Johnson
  • Tony Kirby: Michael Bertone
  • Boris Kolenkov: Don Richardson
  • Gay Wellington: Carolyn Cameron (Sallie Willows 11/27-11/29)
  • Mr. Kirby: Ken Clayton
  • Mrs. Kirby: Mary Brick
  • G-Man 1: David Johnson
  • G-Man 2: Tom Bohacek
  • Grand Duchess Olga Katrina: Amy Thompson

Crew

  • Producer/Director: Ted Ballard
  • Stage Manger: Sallie Willows
  • Set Design: Ted Ballard
  • Set Construction: Tom Bohacek
  • Set Painting: Cast
  • Set Decoration/Dressing: Deb Crawford, Alexa Wilson
  • Properties: Tom Bohacek, Ted Ballard
  • Light Design: Tim Kirk
  • Light Operator: Evelyn Rice
  • Sound Design: Anna Hawkins
  • Special Effects: Kevin Kirby
  • Costumes: Susan Noe
  • Makeup: Cast
  • Hair: Cast
  • Wardrobe mistress: Hannah Ballinger
  • Seamstress: Hannah Ballinger, Susan Noe, Teena Stevic
  • Public Relations: Lisa Nichols
  • Programs: Evelyn Rice
  • Program Cover Design: Paul Ballard
  • Posters: Paul Ballard
  • Photography: Tom Bohacek
  • opening Night Reception: Laurie Bersack
  • Box Office Manager: Christie Clark
  • House Manager: Evelyn Rice
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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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