Players Pen – July 6, 2016

The coffee pots have been working overtime as company members prepare for the first change-over of the season, July 3 through July 6. Perhaps you have a steaming cup by you while you read this. Change-over is when one show closes at Peninsula Players after its final Sunday matinee performance and the next show is loaded onto the stage for Monday night’s spacing rehearsal. The spacing rehearsal is the first time the actors will step up or down a staircase or turn a doorknob on a set before opening night.

By the time reader’s eyes scan this column, “Chapatti” will have had its final curtain call on July 3. We will miss Dan and Betty, who taught us love is out there again just waiting for us to take that chance. “Chapatti’s” set will have been dismantled by our diligent and hard-working crew and the lights, curtains, costumes and set pieces for Agatha Christie’s whodunit will have been loaded in. “The Hollow,” written in the 1940s, was adapted to the stage in 1951 and makes its Peninsula Players debut July 6.

While Penny Slusher and Greg Vinkler were captivating audiences and earning nightly standing ovations for “Chapatti,” their fellow company members, with coffee cups by their side, were rehearsing “The Hollow” while carpenters, stitchers and other artisans were crafting its elegant world.

Agatha Christie assembled 12 eccentric characters for a weekend at an English country estate. “’The Hollow’ is a sexier ‘Downton Abbey’ filled with opulence, glamour, intrigue, humor, drama … oh, and a murder,” said director Joe Foust.

Envision “Project Runway,” and you may conjure a visual as to the energies the creative team exudes for each production. Every detail is looked at, from the shape of the molding in the room to the color of the wall treatment and paint. Will the fabric color of the gowns complement or clash with the wall color? Will the color of the lights alter the color of the fabric?

Costume designer Rachel Lambert and her team have been creating at least four different looks for each character, since the mystery takes place over days. Gown patterns were selected, fabrics and color pallets discussed and finalized. Wig Master Kyle Pingel has been styling several wigs, coiffing each for hairstyles befitting the time period and each characters’ personality.

While the costume shop has been conducting fittings, gathering footwear, dress shirts, ties, spangles and bangles, belts, handbags and other accessories the crew of the scene shop and properties shop have been building and painting the library’s 16-foot walls, bookcases, stone terrace and marble floors designed by Sarah E. Ross. They have painstakingly crafted the estate. All of this is finalized within the 72-hour change-over process.

While change-over was underway the Box Office staff and I participated in the July 4th parades in Baileys Harbor and Egg Harbor. Kyle helped us find some costumes resembling the characters from our forthcoming fall show, “The 39 Steps.” This creative show re-enacts Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller with just four actors.

British everyman, Richard Hannay, is accused of murder and is on the run from Scotland yard while he tries to prove his innocence and save King and country from a ring of German spies. If you were at the parades, you may have seen Richard trying to stay away from the British Bobbie with the aid of a damsel in distress.

Box Office Manager Peter Brian Kelly and administrative interns Mackenzie Tank and Arielle Zelinski had fun mingling with the crowds. Special thanks to Wayne and Cleta Semmerling who joined us for the parade in Baileys Harbor with their classic car, a brown four-door coup.

If you like a good mystery, join us for “The Hollow” by the Queen of Crime. If you want to learn more about Agatha Christie, join us for a pre-show seminar Saturday, July 23 when Christie expert Dr. Chris Chan will speak. To learn more about pre-show seminars, backstage tours, post-show discussions or the rest of the 2016 season, get yourself a cup of coffee and visit our website, Facebook page, Instagram page or YouTube channel for a peek at the backstage magic. For tickets or more information, phone the Box Office at (920) 868-3287. I look forward to seeing you by the bay where the sun sets, the curtain rises and the stars shine!