Scott and Stela read Love Letters to start A notable year. Then others joined hearts ’Neath Salt-Water Moon. Thereafter, we soon Met three unsung women who learned to chart
Faraway stars: staring up at the night We bathed, awestruck, in swirling points of light! A fun change of pace Brought the cut-throat chase Of kids seeking spelling trophies. The sight,
In Clean House, of messes we can’t control— Including sickness that will not let go— Taught us gently how To live in the now. After years of writing, with heart and soul,
His masterful Dracula, Scotty thrilled As we staged it with full suspense and chills. Standing ovations, Public sensation! He basked in the glow of visions fulfilled.
When the day finally came he had to leave, We celebrated him more than we grieved. We dedicated Our last show slated To A Wonderful Life the heavens retrieved.
That Dracula script? It’s now winging high In our lobby, soaring to Silent Sky.
Click any image below to view the full photo.
And what a season it has been! Your love and support have guided this company to the end of our 30th year producing professional live theatre in Lanesboro. This year, we logged a record number of season pass holders, welcomed well over 1,500 first time patrons, surpassed our fall donation campaign efforts and saw more than 21,000 people walk through the doors and take a seat in the theatre. On that strength and with renewed spirit and energy, we forge ahead to 2019 and our 31st season. Thank you for a fabulous year — if you like us, talk about us and we look forward to sharing more compelling stories with you next year.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the theatre—Jeremy.
There are many facets to the life of an actor in the live theatre. One of those facets is taking on a role that you did not create in the official rehearsal process of a production. The theatre term for that is role sharing and it is the position that Lauren Schulke found herself in when accepting a spot in this year’s theatre apprenticeship class. She would be taking over the role of Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for outgoing ensemble member Abbie Cathcart. In this edition of Drama Unfolds, Lauren describes this tricky process for her and what it means for the entire production.
An Actor Challenge: Role Sharing
by Lauren Schulke
I am so honored and excited to have stepped into the role of Marcy Park—an overachiever with dreams of underachieving—in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It has been an absolute pleasure to watch Abbie in the role of Marcy, and working alongside her to create my own version—or in theater terms, role sharing—has been a dream.
When I first got the call from Hal Cropp (Commonweal Executive Director) about my acceptance into the 2018-19 Commonweal Theatre apprentice class, I was offered the role of Marcy and a role in It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. I’ll admit, I was ecstatic for the latter, but was slightly hesitant about the former. My early years of becoming an actor consist of a lot of musicals, but I really haven’t been in one for the last 5 years or so. So when I Googled the role and watched the YouTube videos, I was a little nervous and worried I may be in over my head. However, much like Marcy, I faced the challenge head-on, and unlike Marcy, I decided to go all-in. I called up a recommended voice coach to work on the music and I got a copy of the script and started memorizing.
Moving to Lanesboro was a big change! But I’m grateful I had some time to see Spelling Bee and really feel settled in before I jumped into rehearsals. I worked with Abbie to learn my blocking and the dances and I worked with Stela Burdt, our music director on getting the music in my head and in my body. I watched the show like 5 million times and had a wonderful cast holding me up on my first night.
The adjustment into a role that had already been crafted by Abbie was a balance. It was hard to not feel as if I was just copying someone else’s work and I found myself questioning some of the choices I was making. But after many conversations with Abbie, rehearsal with our stage manager, Bailey, and finally a few performances under my belt, I’m really starting to feel my own Marcy Park blossom. She’s a misunderstood kid who uses a spelling bee as a platform to finally start to understand herself. The exploration of her character has been a wonderful journey and I’m excited to see where it continues to grow over the next 3 months.
Seeing Lauren make the role of Marcy Park her own is just one of the many great things to do in Lanesboro. CWL ensemble member Brandt Roberts has another idea to add to that list, Silent Movies in the Park sponsored by Lanesboro Community Theatre.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is currently playing through September 24th alongside The Clean House.
Every now and then, we are forced to bid farewell to someone who has become quite special to us. This season is one of those times as our dear friend and colleague Abbie Cathcart has chosen to move on from the Commonweal. If you’re a Commonweal regular, you’ve seen her in several roles over the past three years including Shelby Eatonton in Steel Magnolias, Kitty Verdun in Charley’s Aunt and Ragna Monson in The League of Youth. In this edition of Drama Unfolds, Abbie shares a short reflection on her Lanesboro chapter.
I am pleased to announce and am very excited to start graduate school work to earn a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from Michigan State University. As I prepare to leave Lanesboro and Commonweal, little things here and there keep reminding me of my first experiences at this theatre and the ways it has positively impacted my life. I joined Commonweal in 2015 as a member of the apprentice class for the season. I was 21, fresh out of undergrad and had zero professional experience under my belt. I was also pretty nervous. I remember the first show I saw at Commonweal, which was Woody Guthrie’s American Song. I was struck by the immense love and support that reverberated throughout the theater during that performance. From the cast onstage to the patrons who clapped, smiled and jumped to their feet to sing along to familiar favorites, I felt immediately at ease in this joyful environment. The next day, I had my first of many waffles at Spud Boy diner, then walked on the trails and introduced myself to the exceptional beauty of the Driftless Region.
I had initially only moved to Lanesboro for a job, but what I found once I got there was a delightful, unique gem of a community. Over the past three years, I have performed on Commonweal’s stage around 300 times and learned a lot in the process. I have grown to love my fellow resident company members like family, and believe they have shown me what it means to be a good human and artist. Taking this next step away from Commonweal to begin my graduate school career is very bittersweet. I am so thankful to my coworkers at Commonweal, our amazing patrons and the community at large for welcoming me and letting me collaborate with them for a few years.
Abbie leaves for Michigan at the end of the month after the closing performance of Silent Sky, her last show with us…for now. Bidding farewell to Abbie by sharing a performance with her is only one of the great things to do in Lanesboro in June. Need another idea? Commonweal resident ensemble member Eric Lee suggests a drink on “the deck.” Whether it’s a beer at the High Court Pub, a martini at Riverside on the Root or a glass of wine at Old Village Hall, an evening on an outdoor deck in Lanesboro will not soon be forgotten.
Abbie is currently in both spring rep shows…but not for long!
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Thanks for reading; I’ll see you at the theatre.—Jeremy