Hats off to WCT

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor


When the Williston Community Theater was first dipping its toes into the little playhouse pool, I was asked by its president to attend the inaugural show and write a review to perhaps bring in bigger audiences to ensuing performances.

I declined.

This is a small town, I explained. I can't in good conscience come to a show and then if I absolutely hate the play, write a positive review.

I've been in theatre most of life. I know what it takes to take a group of people, some of whom have never acted, and in just a few short months make sense out of what was, last week, absolute chaos.

It would not be fair to anyone involved to write anything less than stellar about a performance and if the show were bad, truly bad, it wouldn't be fair of me to lie.

The board member understood and in the months since, I've helped with whatever I could in the form of publicity.

Last fall, WCT President Barbara Leathers contacted me about the latest production, "House on the Cliff" to see if I could once again, do an occasional blurb in the paper to help promote it.

Of course, I said yes.

I plotted several weeks of publicity for the show and even launched it with a nice article featuring its cast.

Then tragedy struck. One cast member broke an ankle and had to drop out. Just a few weeks later, another was tragically killed in an automobile accident.

Leathers had no choice but to postpone the scheduled October debut until she, and what remained of the cast, could regroup.

But when that happened, scheduling conflicts took two more cast members and the six-actor cast was reduced to two: Lori Moss and Mandy Fugate.

Leathers was undaunted, and perhaps a little offended when I suggested that a dark cloud seemed to  be hanging over this show.

She pulled back her shoulders, set her sights on the future, and soon had recast the show and scheduled a Dec. 31 debut.

Four performances only. That was it. And Sunday I was able to attend the final show, a matinée. And I'm glad I did.

Was it perfect? No. Were the actors nervous? Yes. Was it fun? Entertaining? Worth it? Yes, yes and yes.

I laughed out loud. I was entertained and I was impressed that Leathers had pulled off a feat that seemed near impossible just two months ago.

Years ago, at another newspaper in another state, I was part of a group that welcomed a big hotshot economic developer to our town for a tour.

As we drove through the small city – much like Williston – we passed our community playhouse. He had us stop and then turned to the other movers and shakers of the community and said, "Any city that believes in live theatre and promotes it, is a city that will flourish."

People of Williston, and East Levy County, you should take note of what we have here.

Williston Community Theater is a rich asset to our community, but it needs more support than it has been getting. That support must come from financial backing, and volunteers.

Actors, stagehands, publicity people, ticket sellers, costumers, makeup people, lighting people, choreographers: you are all needed.

It's time to step up to the plate, recognize this cultural asset and then do everything you can to see that it thrives.

Williston is a city poised on the brink of something great, and with a thriving community theater, it can be better than any of us ever imagined.

Find out how you can help by visiting www.wctpeanutpatch.org

And even more importantly, the next time there's a show, attend. The people involved will be forever grateful and your community will be richer.