You know you are in Indiana when your rental car comes with an ice scraper, but the weather Gods smiled on Laura Ambler and me the first weekend in December 2018. We never needed the scraper, but I was glad I’d packed an umbrella.
We flew into Indianapolis and drove to Crawfordsville. An hour on the interstate led us right to the Vanity Theater.
It’s a thrill to see our play in marquis lights.
On opening night the house was full and we were escorted to our seats by two of the cast members who play volunteer firemen in the show.
After welcoming remarks by Director Keith Strain, the firemen escorted us to the stage where Crawfordsville Mayor, Todd Barton, presented us with a proclamation announcing this week as The Santa Diaries week.
The stage at the Vanity Theater is tight…just 22 feet wide. It’s deep however, and the director made use of several levels including a scrim (you can see it on the photo above with a photo projected on it) and a small raised area which served as Timmy’s bedroom.
Sandy, Will, Martha, Brandeee and Josh. Then the Casserole Ladies begin to arrive.
When most of the cast is on stage, it’s crowded, but risers in the back help.
Adorable elves help Sandy read letters to Santa.
Marley Dog, Timmy and Will
There was an after party on Friday night where all the cast and crew gathered.
On Saturday Director Keith Strain and his wife, Betsy, took us to lunch. And in the afternoon a local cooperative art gallery hosted a reception for us. Laura and I supported the local ecomomy and bought jewelry and met people from this vibrant community.
On Saturday night we saw the show again. The staging of every production is unique and every actor interprets his/her character differently. It’s why we travel to see productions. Sometimes there’s a bit of business that we want to keep. This time it was a reprise of At Christmas I Believe (an original song in the show written by Laura Ambler) sung by Will’s mother’s ghost. It was a nice touch. It would give a director an option for the character of Alice.
Community theaters across America provide a cultural venue for their communities. Sometimes they serve as the focal point for the revitalization of a small town. And for some, they are a place where people come together — regardless of politics, religion, gender or sexual orientation — to put on a show. And that’s just what the Sugar Creek Players did at the Vanity Theater last weekend. They put on a great show and did us proud.