Players Pen – July 11, 2014

The Players held its first Pre-Show Seminar June 26 in conjunction with the world premiere of Sean Grennan’s “The Tin Woman.” Heart transplant recipients, Joel Heckman and Ken McIntosh and their wives/caregivers Sue and Fran spoke. On behalf of the Second Chance for Life Foundation, these couples shared their incredible stories of heart transplantation and the physical and emotional roller-coaster that such an experience can cause.

After the couples saw performance of “The Tin Woman” they met with the cast and shared how touched they were with Sean’s work and how accurate the script truly was.

The cast and Sean send a big thank you to Joel, Ken, Sue and Fran for sharing their lives and for the lovely gifts from the Second Chance for Life Foundation.

Our staff heard from other transplant recipients, surgeons and family members of donors during intermissions or after the shows.  Recipients were moved to see their experiences on stage and knew how the main character, Joy, felt and acknowledged the range of emotions families of donors endure.

“The Tin Woman” centered on a topic not commonly discussed.  We may ponder our paths in the silence of our mind, but it is typically not a conversation around the water cooler.  But when one experiences such stories on stage, thoughts spring to the forefront of our minds, and we are more willing to discuss such issues.

The Players held three very well attended post-show discussions.  Patrons asked a range of questions, shared their own experiences and wanted to learn more.  The Players mission is to enrich the lives of our audiences, and we do believe “The Tin Woman” will have a life beyond Fish Creek and Door County and enrich the lives of many, many more audiences.

While the company, cast and crew they were sad to see the close of “The Tin Woman,” we are also excited to bring to life Agatha Christie’s classic whodunit “And Then There Were None,” opening Wednesday, July 9 and playing through July 27.

Set in the year Christie’s book was published, 1939, the elegant costumes designed by Kärin Simonson Kopischke and art-deco inspired scenery of Jack Magaw are dazzling. The steep cliffs of the island provide an exotic and mysterious setting.  Ten guests are lured to Solider Island by a mysterious host who fails to arrive.  Isolated by an impending storm and suspicious of one another, one by one they start to die.

These dashing ladies and gents with shadowy pasts dress to the nines in both leisure and dinner attire.  Our costume shop manager Kyle Pingel and production intern Olivia Bagley stitched and made alterations to dress the assortment of characters.

All of the ladies evening wear was built in the Players costume shop using replicated patterns from original historical source material.  In addition to assembling suits, hats, shoes, overcoats, belts and other vintage accessories, the costume crew has also been ventilating facial hair.

Ventilating is a term used in the wig industry to describe the process of knotting individual hairs by hand to the base of a partial or full-coverage unit. The base may be made of fine monofilament or polyester mesh, thin polyurethane or silicone “skin”, or a combination of both. This is a very time-intensive process and requires a steady hand, a sharp eye and a lot of patience to master the precision of this skill.

Wearing these beauties are actors Dale Benson, Erica Elam, Sean Fortunato, Joel Hatch, Matt Holzfeind, Carol Kuykendall, Sean Grennan, Mark Moede, Tim Monsion, Tom Mula and Kristine Thatcher.

While the costume shop was occupied with a wardrobe of 23 costumes, the carpenters in the scene shop were just as busy building Jack’s design.  Lumber and steel was crafted into the opulent mansion where the guests find themselves marooned.

Technical director Scott M. Boyle welded balcony rails and carpenters Chris Walls, Kristine Kreutzer and Nick Mompier worked alongside production interns Andrew Purvis, Elizabeth Keeney and Shannon Golden on set pieces. Joining the production crew were scenic artists Christine Bolles and Kaitlin Younger who applied their well-honed painting techniques to treat the scenery.

The properties shop, led by designer Sarah E. Ross, hunted or built art-deco style furniture.  Assisting her was props shop manager Amanda Herrmann and production intern Tracy Nowak.  Glassware, dishes, cigarette cases, linens, flowers, paintings, drapes, end tables, serving trays, tea services, fireplace irons, fainting sofas and every other detail to help set the time and place was attentively built and purchased.

If you stop by the box office to purchase tickets to “And Then There Were None” during the day you’ll find these folks hard at work on our next offering, Charles Ludlam’s “The Mystery of Irma Vep.”  If you missed our first pre-show seminar, please consider joining us July 22 at 6:30 p.m. when Agatha Christie expert Christopher Chan speaks on the Queen of Crime. We hope to see you by the bay at a show, a pre-show seminar or a backstage tour.  For more information visit or phone 920-868-3287.