While visiting with friends recently, I was asked, “Do you still perform in plays at the dinner theater?”
In 2001 I attended an open audition at 111 Arch Street Dinner Theater in Searcy, Arkansas, and landed a part in Neil Simon’s Moon Over Buffalo. That gig began a wonderful time in my life. From then until 2018, I was in 20+ productions at that theater, now known as Performing Arts at Center on the Square. I had tons of fun and have many delightful stories from that time to add to the memoir.
But, I aged during those 17 years, as we are all wont to do. I developed some issues with balance and the ability to move around the stage quickly and steadily. I also had difficulty climbing over the obstacle course that is often backstage in a small theater.
My fear (and probably that of the director) was that I might fall on stage and not only pull focus but also take down a flat or possibly another actor. In 2018, my swansong came with Cemetery Club, a really cute play and a great experience with good friends.
At the Archies Ceremony, I received a Lifetime Achievement Award. At the age of 85, my acting career was over.
Then came the Pandemic and the lockdown, which hurt all of the entertainment industry, especially the non-profit sector. PACOS went dark for a while. Only to recover! 2023-24 will be their first full season since the dark spell. The opening last month of Hello Dolly was spectacular.
So, I answered my friend, “No, that’s something I used to do but I don’t do any more.”
“Wow. That’s hard.”
“Yes. But it was a great ride while it lasted.”
*Visit centeronthesquare.org for more information of PACOS 2023-24 season.