Dramatis personae

I’m going to be in a play over the holidays. I can tell you what; I just can’t tell you where.

OK, to bring the story up to this point: I’ve enjoyed occasional participation in community theater, and last spring, I played the lead in “Cash On Delivery,” at the Fly Arts Center in Shelbyville. It was the first time I’d ever had a solo lead part, and a huge one at that, but I had a great time, with terrific castmates and a great director.

This fall, some of those same folks formed a new theater group, the South Of Broadway Players, not so much to compete with the existing group at the Fly as to offer a more flexible and democratic alternative. A few people are already participating in both groups, depending on what they’re interested in trying out for and their personal schedules. I did not try out for the group’s first play, “Here’s Killing You, Kid!”, because the timing wasn’t right. But I was excited about the new group. I attended one of the organizational meetings.

“Here’s Killing You, Kid!” was presented as a dinner theater at the Duck River Restaurant in Shelbyville, with one final performance at a restaurant in Normandy. The Duck River Restaurant was, I am told, delighted with the production, and it did good business. The SOBs (and, yes, we’ve embraced that acronym) hoped that the Duck River Restaurant could host several such performances throughout the year, and then the group might also do a more traditionally-staged production at some point, perhaps using a school theater over the summer or what have you.

The next SOB production will be “WSOB Presents: It’s A Wonderful Life.” This is one of two similar adaptations of the beloved holiday movie in the form of an old-time radio show. Instead of using sets and costumes, a small group of players performs the play on a stage set up to look like a radio studio. Each cast member does numerous characters, and there’s a sound effects man over to the side producing sound effects, with occasional help from other cast members. Little or no memorization is required, because everyone is reading from scripts, just as radio actors did. Part of the fun is seeing the same actors doing different voices, sometimes even having conversations with themselves.

We had auditions last weekend at the Duck River Restaurant. I enjoyed reading the parts and looked forward to the play. Production dates had been set and announced, with performances to take place right before Christmas and during the dead week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Then, a day or two later, the restaurant announced it would go out of business after one last music event this coming weekend. So now, the SOBs have the rights to the play, and a cast, but nowhere to perform it. Our director and producer are scrambling to find a suitable and available space.

Anyway, I got formal notice today that I’d been picked for the cast. I don’t know yet which characters I’ll be doing.

I’ll let you know as soon as performance details have been nailed down.