I have Heather McHenry to blame or thank for my involvement in Langhorne Players.
Ten or so years ago Heather and I worked on a very “technically challenged” piece of theatre in New Jersey. This particular group had lost their home in a fire. True to the old saying, “the show must go on” they rented a banquet hall at the local VFW. Based on the condition of the place, the last banquet held there probably occurred during the Eisenhower administration. In between reconstructing and dismantling the set after every second performance in order to prepare the hall for twice weekly bingo, and stomping on roaches, Heather and I talked a lot about theatre. She told me about a marvelous little place in an old mill where sets were constructed only once and bingo was never discussed. Ah, it sounded like Nirvana.
A few months later, I was cast in Lebensraum. What a wonderful introduction to the old mill and to the LP audiences. I am so grateful that Rich Stockwell gave me that chance and so happy to have worked with him while he was still a regular at LP. I will never forget meeting a Holocaust survivor in the lobby one night after the show. She held my hands and said, “That was my story, you told tonight.” Nine years later, whether I am doing the curtain speech or just seeing a show, one of our regular patrons will stop me to discuss Lebensraum and what it meant to him or her. Working on that piece was one of the best experiences I have ever had in or out of the theatre. It reinforces what I have always believed, theatre is magic.
Since Lebensraum I have been involved with LP on various levels. I have been on the board for the past few seasons and chair the Play Reading Committee. In preparation for each season, my committee and I read and discuss about thirty plays. The discussions are always lively and contentious and fascinating. We are a passionate group. We work very hard to find plays that will work well at the Mill, present interesting ideas, and will entertain our very discerning audiences.
I have also had the great fortune of directing three wonderful plays in that past couple of years. I am tremendous fan or Edward Albee and served as director for two of his Pulitzer Prize winners, Three Tall Women and last season’s Seascape. I was also at the helm for Tongue of a Bird. Directing at LP, while tremendous work, is very rewarding.
On a pretty regular basis, I also find my way back to the stage and my real love, acting.
In between the truly fun stuff, I helped scrub away the muck from last year’s flood, painted dressing rooms, organized props and created a pretty convincing faux parquet floor.
Langhorne Players is all that Heather promised and more. It truly is a marvelous place in an old mill filled with people on both sides of the stage who love theatre and are willing to work incredible hard to breathe life into five, thought provoking plays year after year.