This past weekend I drove south to a little town called Bethlehem on the Indiana side of the Ohio River. Storyteller Cynthia Changeris runs a bed-and-breakfast there called “The Storyteller’s Riverhouse.” I have been there twice for the “Going Deep” long stories festival/retreat, and several times for WOW weekends. It was very, very good for me to go there for a WOW weekend this time, too.
“WOW” means Working on Our Work. WOW weekends are run by Scherezade’s Legacy, a storytelling production company composed of Changeris and Mary Hamilton.
I am not going to blog about this past weekend’s work because “What happens in Bethlehem stays in Bethlehem.” However, I will say that the time I spent there with my storytelling colleagues – all of them – was hugely useful to me.
I’ll also say that I put down a deposit to guarantee my spot as a live-in participant for the third “Going Deep” festival/retreat on March 19-22, 2009. Here is more information about that. The story concerts themselves will be open to the public, but registration for the organized discussions and meals and so on is limited. I am already the fourth person to sign up.
When the WOW weekend concluded on Sunday afternoon I drove back up I-65 to downtown Indianapolis. I scored a parking spot right in front of Theatre on the Square. “Christmas Belles” was sold out, but John in the box office put me first on the waiting list to get in. And I did! (Barely.) I won’t have time to write about this hilarious show in detail because my own Lincoln project is calling me but I enjoyed it very much.
Okay, I will say that while I was waiting in the TOTS lobby before the show, I got a chance to talk with Daniel Roberts, the light and sound operator, and William C. Skaggs, the director. It was fun chatting with them. I asked Skaggs to tell me what he thought I would like best about the show.
First he said, as all directors say, “The cast is amazing.” However, I believed that he meant it. I heard a note of awe in his voice.
Then he said, “It is an ensemble cast and there is an over-the-top story, but each cast member has found moments and ways in which to make their (individual) characters real.”
Now that I’ve seen the show, I agree that that is what this show now has, and that it is special. Yes, it is a goofy, jokey show – and there is nothing wrong with that! half the reason I go to the theatre is to have a good laugh – but I also came to care about these goobery people who are just to trying celebrate Christmas while coping with the other stuff going on in their lives.
And I did laugh a lot.
There are only two more chances to see “Christmas Belles,” so call now to make your reservations and arrive early to get the best seats. (www.tots.org. 317-685-TOTS (8687))
Coming soon: a post about the “You Are There” interactive theatre exhibit at the Indiana History Center.)
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com