Our Current 2017-2018 Season:

Our Current 2017-2018 Season:

Monday, November 28, 2011

This Lemon’s Not Sour

Jim Pierce pulls no punches as...

.... the real Mark Lemon
When Jim Pierce tells people that he is acting in A Christmas Carol, “everyone I know immediately assumes I am Scrooge.”  Despite this self-deprecating self-assessment, Jim is no miser when it comes to spreading goodwill and holiday cheer.  Jim’s main character is Mark Lemon, who in real life was a close family friend of the Dickens’ and editor of the humorous publication “Punch.”   While Jim enjoys playing Lemon because he “possesses a sharp and biting wit and is slightly hedonistic,” Lemon is actually a softie, affectionately known to the Dickens’ children as “Uncle Porpoise.”  As Lemon, Jim also plays all the roles that are the “most well-rounded,” including the First Portly Gentleman, Mr. Fezziwig, and The Fat Man.  Jim is well cast in these parts and his sardonic wit and quick sense of humor never cease to entertain his fellow cast members.

Jim often works on the technical side of shows, but he relished the opportunity to act for director Nancy Cooper.  He believes that the main themes of A Christmas Carol – “greed, lack of empathy and redemption” – are just as relevant today, as so “many people still have their minds fixed on the almighty buck.”

Jim feels that the cast help one another raise each other’s game:  “Not only has it been challenging to live up to the vision and expectations of the directors, but raising and maintaining one's level of acting skills to match that of the other cast members is daunting. Since this production begins with historical characters who interact before the play within the play unfolds, a true ensemble developed quickly. Everyone has brought to life a myriad of distinct characters.”

A Christmas Carol opens this Friday December 2nd.  For tickets, go to www.farmingtonplayers.org or call the box office at 248-553-2955. Find us on Facebook under "Farmington Players".

Monday, November 21, 2011

Amy P Debuts as A.D. in A.C.C.

Amy Poirier


To those who remember seeing Amy Poirier onstage, it might be a little hard at first to take her seriously as assistant director of A Christmas CarolAmy debuted with the Farmington Players as the sassy stripper Mazeppa in Gypsy and most recently played Shirley (“Keep It Gay”) Markowitz and other hilarious roles in The Producers.  Amy’s willingness to throw herself into new and edgy roles makes her well-suited to the challenges of assistant director.  Plus, as a technical training project manager for GM and a very busy mom to three kids, Amy is a natural at teaching and organizing.

While Amy is quickly finding her own “voice” as assistant director, she credits director Nancy Cooper with being a strong mentor: “Not only have I have learned a lot about production and directing from Nancy, we have had so much fun working together.  Nancy is continually looking at each of the characters and coming up with different ways to help make them more interesting to the audience.  … Nancy reinforced to me how important character development is, especially in this play where everyone plays so many different roles.”

What does Amy see as the main difference between directing and acting? “With directing you feel more pressure upfront to put an entire show together – you are responsible for more than just yourself and it can be a little daunting, but also more rewarding.    I’ve also really enjoyed being able to watch the show at each rehearsal from the audience’s viewpoint, something as an actor you’re not able to do when you’re actually in the show.”

Amy believes that the lessons of A Christmas Carol still ring true today: “This story allows us to still have that hope that people who seem mean will change.  The notion of the holiday spirit being a redemptive one and everyone being able to surrender to it is something that can appeal to most individuals. … And isn't that what Christmas is all about – at least one day of the year when all is right with the world, and God has blessed us "every one"!”

To win free tickets to opening night of A Christmas Carol for a friend or family member, send an email (deadline extended to November 27th) to AChristmasCarol@farmingtonplayers.org and tell us why they are deserving. (Scroll down to my November 1st blog entry for full details.)  But don’t wait to buy your own tickets, which are going fast.  Go to www.farmingtonplayers.org or call the box office at 248-553-2955. Find us on Facebook under "Farmington Players".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Magical Day at the Barn

The Wonder Merchants:
Craig Alan, Andrew Dakota, Bruce Florek and Pooch


Saturday November 19th will be an action-packed day at the Farmington Players Barn Theater.   Come early, stay late, and enjoy all the festivities.  The fun starts at 2:00PM with The Wonder Merchants. Four fabulous magicians and humorists are ready to mesmerize families.   This event is fun for all ages and all proceeds support The Farmington Players! Tickets are only $10 presale or $12 at the door. Call 248-553-2955 or buy online at www.farmingtonplayers.org. The “Wonder Merchants” include Craig Alan, actor, magician and mind reader with more than 15 years of performing experience from coast to coast; Andrew Dakota, an international award winning magician, consultant to top entertainers, and inventor of some of today's most startling magical illusions; Bruce Florek, skilled at dipping into his “bag of tricks” to dazzle children and transport them to a place of wonderment; and “Pooch,” whose mission is to astound and delight audiences of all ages.  The event is sponsored by McCabe Funeral Home of Farmington Hills.
Next, the Chili Cook-off will begin at 6:00 pm.  We currently have NINE entries of original, fresh, delicious homemade chili! Come and support our cooks: Emily/Diana McSweeney, Tim Timmer, Jason Wilhoite, Mike Smith, Vicki Grulke, Margaret Gilkes, Guy Copeland, Laurel Stroud and Amy Lauter. Who will win? Only you can decide!

At 7:00 is the membership meeting, immediately followed by the premiere of an original script written and directed by Anne Craft, One Last Chance, starring Mike Smith, John Lauter, Tim Timmer, Jan Jacobs, Val Knol, Marilyn Zerlak and Ellen Doman. 

Last but not least will be the long awaited farewell to the Fraternal Order of Pop Men.
As reported in the November issue of Barnstorms: “This highly secretive order has been likened to the Masons, but with fizz and without buried treasure. Originally convened as custodians of the late, lamented soft-drink dispenser, the order has unfinished business:
Initiation of its final pledge, Tim Timmer.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stephen King Scares Me

A Stephen King by any other name...
... would still be very scary!



When you’re named Stephen King, you’d better be able to command attention and respect.  Like the legendary horror movie writer with the same name, our Stephen King is not someone to be trifled with.  Steve is an accomplished martial artist with over 30 years experience, having earned his 6th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  He also teaches at Olympian Tae Kwon Do in Canton and has studied fight choreography at The Action Film Academy in New York.  

In A Christmas Carol, Steve’s main character is John Forster, Charles Dickens' best friend and confidant, who is a bit full of himself.  In turn, Forster’s specialty is playing a number of ghosts, some of which are very scary indeed.   Steve says “my favorite to play is The Ghost of Jacob Marley.  I get to really let it loose and tell Scrooge what he is facing.”  Other ghosts include the more jovial Ghost of Christmas Present, and silent yet scary Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.  In addition, Steve portrays the Second Portly Gentleman (who solicits Scrooge for a donation), Dick Wilkins (young Scrooge's apprentice friend) and the Man with Handkerchief (an unsympathetic mourner). 

Steve is well-suited to his roles and debuts with the Farmington Players after a 10-year absence from the stage. “A Christmas Carol is still very relevant today because there are a lot of ‘Scrooges’ out there in our world. Charles Dickens is saying you could still be well off but don't forget about the little guy.  If it wasn't for Bob Cratchit, Scrooge couldn't operate.”   Steve practices what he preaches as the Ghost of Jacob Marley: “I've always wanted to be an actor and can relate to Jacob Marley when he talks about remorse.  But it's never too late to do what you want!”
  
To win free tickets to opening night of A Christmas Carol for a friend or family member, send an email by November 19th to AChristmasCarol@farmingtonplayers.org and tell us why they are deserving. (Scroll down to my November 1st blog entry for full details.)  But don’t wait to buy your own tickets, which are going fast.  Go to www.farmingtonplayers.org or call the box office at 248-553-2955. Find us on Facebook under "Farmington Players".

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Laurel Stroud Can't Miss As "Mrs."

Laurel Stroud plays Catherine Dickens among other "Mrs."



Christmas wreaths made of laurel and other evergreens symbolize strength, as evergreens last throughout the harshest of winters.  Like her namesake, Laurel Stroud is both strong and enduring.  In A Christmas Carol, she plays many mothers and wives whose strength of character is important to the story.  As Mrs. Cratchit, she hides her tears and says, “I would never show weakness to your father.”  She’s also outspoken in expressing her disgust for Scrooge, something her humble husband Bob would never do.  Mrs. Cratchit is Laurel’s favorite character: “She has the biggest range of emotions, and the most lines.”

Laurel also plays Mrs. Fezziwig, Mrs. Fred (Scrooge's nephew's wife), Mrs. Dilber (a laundress who steals from the deceased), and Catherine Dickens, Charles' wife.  Laurel sees Catherine as “very proper and frustrated dealing with her husband's games during a dinner party.  But she is a good sport and plays along.” 

Laurel is also a good sport, serving in many different capacities at the Barn.  Offstage, she is on the Board, as Director of Communications and Education.  She was last seen onstage in the chorus of The Producers, as a tap-dancing showgirl.  Her other favorite Barn roles include Mom in Leaving Iowa, Essie in You Can't Take it With You and Jennie in Chapter Two

Laurel truly understands the message behind A Christmas Carol: “The main theme is to not get so focused on the day-to-day business of life that we lose sight of what we do all that business for.  There are people in our lives we love and who love us.  That should not be taken for granted.  Another thing I hope is brought out is the idea that there are people around us who need help, and most likely there is something we can do to help them.”

To help a friend or family member win free tickets to opening night of A Christmas Carol, see my November 1st blog entry.  But don’t wait to buy your own tickets, which are going fast.  Go to www.farmingtonplayers.org or call the box office at 248-553-2955. Find us on Facebook under "Farmington Players".

Monday, November 7, 2011

Like The Dickens

Dorne as... 
Dickens




















It is hard not to like Dorne Lefere, who plays both Charles Dickens and Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.  At rehearsals, Dorne’s devilish sense of humor keeps everyone on their toes.  He can be simultaneously self-deprecating and self-promoting.   And he never met an innuendo he didn’t like.   But behind all his frivolity is a serious actor with an amazing ability to memorize lines and capture the essence of his characters. A Christmas Carol is his tenth adventure at the Barn.

I first met Dorne during The Producers, when he was Max Bialystock and I was Carmen Ghia.   Now, as the mild-mannered Bob Cratchit, I face the full brunt of his wrath as the mercurial Scrooge.  Dorne enjoys the role because “It is fun to transition the character throughout the play from despised to (almost) beloved.”   He also loves the portrayal of Dickens as a “fun-loving and frustrated thespian” and the challenge of playing two characters who are so vastly different: “The story is so timeless and uplifting that you can’t watch it without coming away feeling good.  I also liked that Dickens and his guests actually perform the story.”

Dorne credits director Nancy Cooper with excellent casting: “In all seriousness, after our first rehearsal I couldn’t imagine anybody else in each of the respective roles.  Everyone is perfect.” But with typical unseriousness, Dorne adds, “Even Forster, who frankly seems a little too much at home wrapped in chains.  I don’t even want to go there.” 

Audiences are in for a real treat when they come to see A Christmas Carol, but if you take Dorne too literally, you might not want to sit in the front row:  “Of all the versions of this classic I have seen, I think that Donald Duck really nailed the Scrooge character best. I plan to introduce some slight spitting and drooling as an homage to his rendition.”

To win free tickets to opening night of A Christmas Carol for a friend or family member, send an email by November 19th to AChristmasCarol@farmingtonplayers.org and tell us why they are deserving. (Scroll down to my November 1st blog entry for full details.)  But don’t wait to buy your own tickets, which are going fast.  Go to www.farmingtonplayers.org or call the box office at 248-553-2955. Find us on Facebook under "Farmington Players".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tis the Season to Win Tix to A Christmas Carol

This year's holiday show is a twist on Charles Dickens' classic tale, A Christmas Carol. This is not your grandfather’s Christmas Carol.   In our version, Charles Dickens' beloved ghost story comes to life in a whole new way, as seen through the eyes of Dickens himself. The author gathers his family and friends for a Christmas Eve celebration and draws them into the process of creating the classic tale. As the people in Dickens' life are transformed into the familiar characters of A Christmas Carol, we are reminded of the real meaning of the holiday season, which is not only a joyous time spent with family and friends, but also a time of providing for those in need.  As the First Portly Gentleman says: "it is a time when want is keenly felt, and abundance rejoices." 

To encourage this spirit of giving, The Farmington Players is giving away one pair of free tickets to A Christmas Carol for opening night, Friday, December 2nd at 8:00PM.   To win the tickets, send an email to AChristmasCarol@farmingtonplayers.org and tell us in 100 words or less why your friend or family member deserves a free pair of tickets.   Reasons can include hardship, that they love the tale, or could use a good laugh. The best (most thoughtful, humorous or poignant) entries might even be posted here, in future blog entries of Playing The Barn, so be creative.

Entries must be submitted by November 19 (one per household, please).   Winners will be notified by email by November 25.   Please include your name and hometown with your email.   
For tickets, go to www.farmingtonplayers.org or call 248-553-2955.  Find us on Facebook at "Farmington Players" http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000154976336


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