Sunday, July 8, 2012

Photo Essay: Overnight Sensational

This is our group sitting down for the first read-through of our play about why the Titanic sank. It was a comedy.
Director Art Borrecca (left) and writer John Galvez talk out the plot.
Actress Rae West reads the script.
Bayla Sussman (left) and Mary Jean Levin chat.
Patrick Kelly played the first mate to my Captain Edward James Smith.
Art and Patrick talk over a point in the script.
T.J. Anderson plays his drum (on his lap; it's steel).
Caitlin Morgan hugs her favorite prop.
Our final scene played before an audience of our cast.
Dinner before the show.
The show with camera shake had difficult focus.
More camera shake. Hey, it's a play; it's not made for cameras.
Last night's nearly sold out "Overnight Sensations" at Hollins University's Little Theatre was a delight for those of us taking part as writers, directors or actors. It was my third trip to the stage and I suspect this was my favorite.

The real Capt. Edward James Smith (not me).
Our play, "The Last Secret of the Titanic," was written by Jonathan Galvez, a New York writer in for the weekend, even as he had a show opening in New York. He seemed delighted to be here. The director was Art Borreca, who teaches at the college level. This was a comedy, giving an alternate explanation of why the Titanic was put in the position of hitting an iceberg. It was filled with laughs, blood and death.

I played Captain Edward James Smith, a guy who looked a lot like I look today. Our first mate, Patrick Kelly, pointed to the irony that his wife was in her last day of a cruise in icy waters (Alaska). Our cast was sprinkled with experienced actors (Patrick, Mary Jean Levin, Rae West and Caitlin Morgan) and we threw in an academic, T.J. LaRoche and a candy maker, the delightful Bayla Sussman.

The level of talent in all the shows was high and the writing was so good it was often scary. All of this was done in 24 hours and I want to do it again tonight. I think most of those in the audience felt the same way.

I'm hoping that when Mill Mountain Theatre opens again, it premiers with something local like these plays (done in a 1924 "Little Theater," which was built as a protest against theatrical professionalism) or maybe even a revival of the wildly popular local production of "Henry Street."


  1. To those that missed the performance, I would like to report that Dan comported himself very admirably. A fine performance indeed (he even pulled of a fairly convincing British accent). It was a pleasure to work with him (and the entire cast and crew) on a finely crafted piece of whimsy. I am looking forward to sharing the boards with you again Dan. -Patrick Kelly

  2. Thank you, Patrick. It was my pleasure, indeed. What I love about community theater is "community" and this was the best of it. The very best. The theater was good, the fraternity better. Just love it.