As the cast of “A Doublewide, Texas Christmas” preps for opening night on April 26 at the Dobie West Performing Arts Theatre in George West, an unseen crew works diligently to help make the play come to life for the audience. For without lights, the play could not be seen. Without costumes, the characters would not be defined as clearly. Without sound effects, the marauding raccoons would be silent. Without props, all the tools and food and even baby Arden Rose would be invisible to the watchers. The performers may be the most obvious participants in a play, but the show can’t go on without the crew.
Directing this comedy is Glynis Holm Strause, who declares herself “thrilled to direct ‘A Doublewide, Texas Christmas’ at the Dobie West Performing Arts Theatre.” She chose this play to present because, “The Doublewide community works together just as the community worked together to refurbish the theatre and keep it running since 2004. Every character in the play can be found in every community that is working to survive and thrive.” Strause was an educator at Coastal Bend College for 34 years and as a speech and theatre major has found that finding access to theatre in her home town is a passion that keeps on satisfying her love of the arts.
A supportive team makes up the crew that Strause put together for this production.
Cindi Robinson is the assistant director, serving as the director’s right hand and doing an assortment of necessary chores. Robinson has been an all-purpose helper for several productions. She describes her efforts modestly, “I have no training in theater and no desire to be on stage. I do however have a great love for our theater and try to compensate for my lack of talent in other ways. I am on our board of directors, I clean and organize the theater and generally help where I can. In the past I have been stage and props manager and this year helped direct when Glynis was not able to be at practices because of work.”
Kristin Gerth serves as the technical director. She has years of experience working on productions since the theater first hosted live performances after its restoration. For ‘A Doublewide, Texas Christmas’ she will be running the light board and cuing sound effects. Assisting her on lighting chores with spotlights are Jerry Edlin and Blayne Huston. Gerth recognizes the importance of her job, saying, “The addition of lighting and sound effects to the play makes the stage story come alive.”
Robin McKinney is handling costuming for the “Doublewide’”production. She is another supporter who isn’t interested in being in the spotlight. She says, “If you want to participate but don’t want to be on stage, costuming is a good fit.” (Pun intended.) Her challenges for this show involved multiple costumes for each player. No character has fewer than three costumes, and most have five. “That’s a lot of costumes to sew or pull together,” McKinney commented. She enjoys her job. “You really have to know the characters and the play. It’s fun matching the costumes with the characters.” Her most fun costume for this play? Baby’s camouflage elf. The most difficult? Sloggett’s Travis military jacket.
First-timer Susan Hensley took over the job of properties, usually shortened to props. That involves listing and gathering all the items used by the players during the performance. She says the prop that she anticipated being the greatest challenge was the raccoons, but they turned out not to be much of a problem. Hensley throws herself into the job with enthusiasm because, “I have always loved theatre and live performance, but regrettably only discovered this wonderful gem last year (after 14 years in the area!). I quickly became involved to the best of my limited abilities. I dabbled many years ago with being on stage, but chronic stage fright put a stop to that, so now I am attempting to keep up with this fabulous group.”
In addition to his role as Haywood Sloggett in the play, LeRoy Smith used his years of theater experience to put together the set. He modified flats and other items that were available and built whatever else was needed. He defines a set as, “that piece of magic between the cast and the back wall of the stage.”
Making sure people know about this play are Thomasine Rushing, who portrays Caprice Crumpler and Ann Snuggs who plays Patsy Sloggett Price in the show. They are both life-long theatre lovers and participants. Whether it is the capability of designing signs, posters, flyers, websites, Facebook or writing articles, they know the importance of getting the word out.
The crew of “A Doublewide, Texas Christmas” has devoted a great deal of time and effort supporting the efforts of the cast to bring to the audience a super entertaining show. Mark your calendars for April 26 and 27 when it hits the Dobie West Performing Arts Theatre stage at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. Tickets are now on sale at www.dobie-westtheatre.com or they may be purchased at the door. The Box Office opens at 6:30 p.m.
“A Doublewide, Texas Christmas” is produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Services, Inc., New York, New York.