In Friday Fragments, I mentioned that I have this weekend to myself as my men are at a boy scout camping trip. I also mentioned that one of my activities was a surprise. Now that the surprise has happened, I will let you in on the secret. It was a surprise for someone else that resulted in a fun evening for me.
As some of you know, Mary Ellen over at http://www.adoptingme.blogspot.com/ is one of my dearest friends. We have been friends since college. She is the stage manager for the performance of "Never Too Late" by the Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association. Andrew Scott Turner is the director. Judy, Mary Ellen's college roommate, and I decided that we wanted to show our support and surprise Mary Ellen by going to one of the performances. Jamie, one of Judy's sons, agreed to tag along and we headed out to Norway, Maine last night.
After work , I jumped in my car and headed north for 1 hour to meet up with Judy. After a little confusion about where we were going to meet (all on my part, of course), I found her and we carpooled to the show. It was another 45 minutes into a part of Maine that I hadn't been to since my high school years. While no town in Maine really qualifies as a "big city", I do live in southern Maine about 1 hour from Boston. As we drove into Norway, I got a sense that I was returning to my roots as a youth in (very) small town Maine. Norway is a cute old fashioned looking town and the play was being performed in the local grange hall. What is the grange, you ask? It is a the largest agricultural organization in the United States and was formed over 140 years ago to provide service to rural areas on a wide variety of issues. There are still over 3600 different units around the country and Maine has many. Most small towns in the Maine have grange halls where they hold or held meetings. In addition, these halls often have stages, etc. for the community. Anyway, when we pulled into the parking lot of the grange hall, I noticed the building was a stereotypical grange hall as it was a little tattered but extremely sturdy. Going into the building, I was immediately transported back to my youth. There was a dining room area on the first floor and a stage area on the second floor just like the Community Hall in Liberty, Maine where I grew up. I spent many hours at the Community Hall volunteering at church suppers and performing on the stage. I just knew this was going to be a wonderful night.
As small town as the location was, the performance itself really impressed me. It was a warm evening out last night and it quickly got very warm in the audience. I can only imagine how hot the actors were on the stage with all of the lights. They gave no indication that they were melting and performed beautifully. The play had a great deal of physical humor and was "laugh-out-loud" funny in many spots. I have season tickets to a local professional theatre in Portsmouth NH and this show was as good as any of their shows. All of the actors were great but one actor, Alyssa, really stood out. She is only 15 and was playing a 23 year old married woman. I had no idea that she was that young until it was pointed out to me. She carried her part off without a hitch. Bravo to everyone involved - especially to the stage manager.
We sent a message to Mary Ellen at the end of the show. She was stunned to see the three of us there. All I can say is GOTCHA! We traveled to see the show because that is what friends do. They support each other.
There is a sign on Rt 95 coming into Maine that says "Maine - the way life should be". Great local theater in an old fashioned grange hall with girl scouts selling refreshments at intermission is a great example of the way life should be!
Here's to local theater and the people who volunteer to make it happen!