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A CLAQUE OF CRITICS
11 March 2007
What a fun evening we had!
I love the Winters Community Theatre. Nobody will ever accuse them of aspiring to be professional. They are what they are: amateurs in the purest sense of the term — doing something for the love of it. Better than average actors, but nobody with what Randy Jackson calls "the wow factor." They just find an auditorium and put on a play for people in the small town of Winters (± 6,000 people in the 2000 census) and everybody has a good time.
On opening night there is a "gala," where tables are set up and everyone gets a piece of cheesecake and a glass of Cooks champagne (or fruit punch).
The "theatre" is the local community center, which is better set up for a high school assembly than a play. The actors flub lines and there's usually someone who is absolutely unsuited to have a lead role.
But somehow I just don't care. I love it because they love it. I love the pride, the dedication, the work that goes into the shows. They aren't trying to be a big city theatrical company; they don't pretend they're better than they really are; they're just trying to have fun with their neighbors and put on a good show for the townfolks.
We took our place at our assigned table for a production of Let's Murder Marsha, a play by Monk Ferris which seems better suited to a high school production. We were joined shortly by two women, and three more people who joined us before the lights dimmed.
"That's Debra LoGuercio," Walt whispered to me, indicating one of the women at the table. I hadn't really looked at her before and probably wouldn't have recognized her if I had, though once he pointed her out, I did recognize her from her photo.
LoGuercio is managing editor, award-winning columnist, and sometime critic of The Winters Express, which is owned, I believe, by the same company which owns The Davis Enterprise. So we are sister critics.
I am always somewhat intimidated by people with "real" credentials, so I did not let on that I knew who she was until she began introducing herself and her friend and asking others at the table to introduce themselves. She introduced herself as "Debbie" and her friend added that "Debbie" wrote for The Winters Express, which of course led me to explain why I was there as well. She remembered having had some e-mail exchanges with me before and she remembers that I sometimes write letters to the editor. (In fact most people in town who kinda sorta recognize my name recognize it from letters to the editor, though I haven't written one in a very long time. Lots of people don't have a clue that I write at least one review of some show every week and routinely write feature articles!)
At intermission at shows like this, I generally pull out a book to read and Walt goes off in search of coffee or water or something, but this time we sat and chatted with Debra and her friend and laughed a lot about the play we were seeing and especially about a column she had written hating the book "Shipping News," which her friend loved ("I lived in Maine for several years. I do well with bleak," the friend said, laughing). Debra apparently once held a contest inviting readers to come up with the most creative way to destroy the book (the winner suggested cutting it into little pieces, putting it in a bucket and peeing on it).
It was all very silly and just...well...fun. I am terrible at introducing myself to new people, especially people whose work I admire and of whom I am somewhat in awe. But this was just a lot of fun and now I feel the pressure to write a good review, knowing that Debra will be writing one as well!
This afternoon I paid a visit to Luna. Remember Luna?
We called her "Annie" when she arrived here with her siblings, Darcy and Zack.
Peach and Bob's daughter fell in love with her and adopted her and she's a big ol' adolescent puppy now. I hadn't seen her since they picked her up.
She's changed a bit in the past seven months!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
They are madly in love with this dog--
This is entry #2537