There are only so many roles for adults in community theatre productions.
People like Mary Anne Fraser were sick of playing rocks, trees and other minor parts, so they decided to do something about it.
Two years ago, Lighthouse STF Productions was officially born.
Dave Stapleton started the company for people over the age of 40, but it has since evolved to an acting group open to adults, and some children have even had lines in their productions.
“David and a group of people he knew from church (were talking) about the lack of lead roles (for adults),” Fraser said.
So, the company founder wrote a production that had plenty of involved roles for grown-ups, and even added in characters to fit the needs of the people wanting to participate. The company staged Five Kings and A Mother at two separate times before moving on to its next production, Drytown.
The story is based in 1932 in a Northern town where natural resources are key and boom and bust is common.
With a cast of farmer-ranchers, small business townsfolk, a drunken mayor, the preacher's daughter, a mob mistress, a big-city reporter seeking “the scoop” and a “wannabe” producer planning his first big gig for Hollywood and Broadway, the comedic drama depicts a memorable town during the depression.
“Part of our mission is to develop directors, producers, playwrights, stage managers and to see them functioning in a semi-professional manner,” Stapleton said.
Mariette St. Amand made her acting debut in the production. The local woman said she had always wanted to get on stage, but had never worked up the courage.
“I actually went on a dare,” she said with a laugh. Her best friend and sister-in-law encouraged her, telling her to “go.”
“So I did it,” St. Amand said.
First-time actors like St. Amand are common in the group. Fraser said it's part of the fun of it all.
“We want to give older people an opportunity,” she said. “(They can) check something off their bucket list.”
Given the nature of the group, they have a less conventional approach to doing what they do. Lighthouse begins rehearsals well in advance with weekly practices before upping the ante as the production nears.
“We don't stress,” Fraser said. “We take our time. We give people as much time as they need.”
The strategy helps with the sometimes-forgetful minds of the actors, Fraser added with a laugh.
As the company moves forward to its next project, which is expected to be a TV-format show, they are looking to raise the profile and funds for the company.
On Feb. 23, they are screening a “larger-than-life” version of Drytown. The stage show was recorded, and will now be presented in movie format at Rainbow Cinemas.
It's a perfect opportunity for those who missed the show to catch it, or to catch it again.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the show begins at 6. Tickets can be purchased for $10 from Black Cat, Records on Wheels, Jett Landry Music and at the door.
For more information, phone 705-674-3778 or 705-675-8797. For more information about Lighthouse as a whole, contact Stapleton at 705-671-7127.
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