As the fall season reveals itself in its majestic splendor company members revel in the quiet times between show duties and daytime fall projects. In between organizing prop and costume storage or processing ticket orders, the crew and staff pause to take in the beauty of the bay and its soothing sounds as it laps the shoreline.
Venturing inland, company members have been exploring what fall has to offer on their days off. Hikes in the park, exploring corn mazes, tasting apple cider doughnuts, pumpkin pie, caramel apples and other tasty treats.
We gather at meal time and share our daily adventures or re-cap the work we accomplished that day. The staff then prepares to greet our guests, with some reporting to the parking lots, box office, theater, Luna Bar or canteen to help arriving patrons. Musicians report for their sound check and the performers, Christine Mild and Karen Janes Woditsch, begin their prep in the dressing rooms for the 7 p.m. curtain of “Always…Patsy Cline.”
Most fall evenings I can be found at the Will Call window in the canteen, greeting patrons who need to pick-up their tickets for that evening’s show. I help pour the hot cider, coffee or hot cocoa, visit with returning patrons and recap their summer adventures.
I thoroughly enjoy meeting people who are first time visitors and discovering where they have been that day. Perhaps they were exploring one of Door County’s many galleries, orchards or a craft store off the beaten trail. They may have just arrived from having dinner at their favorite restaurant or fish boil.
With new visitors I get to share a bit of the theater’s long history. I also get to talk with those who have been visiting the Players for generations, and I get to swap some of their more noteworthy memories. Perhaps they used to come on the last night of the fall season to help fold up chairs or they were here on one of the few nights we performed a show without electrical power because of a storm.
Some recall stories of critters, whether a bat or cat, who made their way onto the stage and how an actor had to adapt to its unscripted arrival. One of my favorite stories is of an opening night when Amy McKenzie’s character was in her apartment. She lets someone in the front door, and it falls off its hinges.
Not missing a beat she crosses to the phone, picks up the telephone, asks for building maintenance then continues with the scene. Eventually a stage technician arrives and re-mounts the door. Amy pauses and thanks him, commenting on how happy she was she lived in a building with such great maintenance service.
Patrons tell me with a twinkle in their eye of the first show they saw or their favorite performer. They recall how their grandparents brought them to the theater or how they enjoyed the fall seasons in the old space even with its breezy tent flaps.
They share some of their happiest memories with me, and I am filled with an abundance of joy to know the Players brings an experience to relish and re-live on each visit.
As I wait at the foot of the stairs in the canteen at the Will Call window, I also have the opportunity to observe couples enjoying the grounds. I am always touched to see an older couple hand-in-hand making their way to see the sunset. I do not know if it is the tender way they glance at each other or the loving gesture of reaching out to each one that moves me so much, but I always wish to be in that moment with my loved one.
My mind then begins to wander. I wonder how many couples have let love bloom or thrive at the Players. Did they have their first date here? Did they visit during their honeymoon? Did they get engaged along our shore?
Peninsula Players provides a romantic setting for a first date, honeymoon or anniversary celebration. Since I collect Players lore, I want to know, if you and your significant other celebrated your romance with the Players. If yes, write us about your Players romance. Stories will be entered into a drawing at the end of the 79th season for one of five pairs of tickets for the 80th season in 2015. Those submitting entries to [email protected] understand their stories may be used on Facebook or as direct quotes in media.
I look forward to hearing your stories. You may submit by e-mail or mail them to 4351 Peninsula Players Road, Fish Creek, WI 54212. Perhaps I’ll see you around the intermission bonfire or at Will Call yet this fall when you join us for the roof raising “Always…Patsy Cline.” For more information or tickets visit www.peninsulaplayers.com or phone 920-868-3287.
Audra Baakari Boyle is the Peninsula Players Business Manager, celebrating her 20th season by the bay.