As a correspondent for Valpolife.com, I am usually the one with a pen and paper attending an event or in this case, sitting in the audience and secretly snapping pictures, flash off of course, writing about what I just watched; interviewing actors and the director about the latest production on stage. Tonight though, I was on the stage.
The Valparaiso Theatrical Company is now showing its latest production Prelude to a Kiss. This “Freak Friday” version of a love story is both comical and moving and just a little bit racy. It’s being shown at the Memorial Opera House with proceeds from opening night benefitting the Memorial Opera House Foundation.
You see, my best friend, Colleen Zana, founded the theater company. You may have read about her as a Valpo Life in the Spotlight.
Zana and I go for breakfast just about every week. We talk about this and about that but I never expected her to ask me to be in this latest play she was passionate about. Of course I said yes. I had no idea what was in store. I have never been in a play before. Months of rehearsal, a lot of prop hunting and costume shopping. I do love prop hunting though; we have so much fun.
I have learned new terms: up-stage, down-stage, stage right, stage left, on the fly, flying and of course “go for cue.” I will never be able to watch a TV show or a movie without thinking about why those props are in the back ground or how many takes did it take to get the lines right or how much rehearsal time was involved? I am only an extra in the play but an extra is not a small thing.
There are costume changes, setting of the stage between scenes, remembering my props and the funny thing is my main prop is a purse. What woman forgets her purse? This one does when I have to remember it for the next scene.
Give me a camera and I am almost fearless and definitely confident. It’s my shield. Put me on stage and my knees begin to knock. But I have to say, I have found this experience to be an amazing one. I have learned, had fun, and best of all made new friends. One thing about Community Theater is that any one can try out.
Sure opening night there were a couple of small malfunctions; a microphone went off when it wasn’t supposed to, a prop fell from the ceiling, but as my “boyfriend” played by Mark McColley said, “It’s live theater and anything can happen.”
Prelude to a Kiss is a love story that goes awry when an innocent kiss between a young bride (Maggie Foster) and an uninvited wedding guest, an old man (Michael Doc Kuhn), kiss. The two swop bodies but when they realize what happened, the bride, Rita, now the old man isn’t believed by anyone and the old man, now getting a second chance as a young vibrant healthy woman, chooses to keep the switch a secret to enjoy life all over again.
Pay special attention to the color scheme in the play because it has special meaning.
“When someone is newly in love they don’t see anyone around them except the person they are in love with, that is why the cast except the leads are in gray and the stage is in white. The leads are in black white and red.” said Zana, Director. "The red comes in the scene when Peter (Mike Lerner), the groom, falls in love with Rita and is extracted when he is on to her and knows she is just not right."
I hope you have a chance to come out to see the play. Each night benefits a different charity, enjoy a date night with the person you love and also give to a worthy cause. Hope to see you there.