August 25, 2005
Even midst the hustle and bustle of the summer season, it’s important to take a few moments to stop and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us – to listen to the birds, smell the flowers, catch a final glimpse of the sunset, or look up and enjoy the stars.
This past week, I was quickly reminded of this natural beauty while giving a tour of our grounds. Last Sunday, we had a wonderful turnout for our second free tour of the season (the final one is September 11). The initial group was a little large for one tour guide so it was divided in half, allowing me the delight of showing a group of interested, inquisitive individuals of all ages around the property. As with most of our tours, one of the first comments I heard was, “What a beautiful site you have,” and the second was “What a neat summer camp feeling you have here.” On both accounts, they were absolutely right.
Since we all live, work, eat, and play here on property, it really is like summer camp for adults. The bell rings when it’s time for meals. We can be found around the campfire roasting marshmallows after a show. Mosquito repellent is plentiful, and staff members can be seen scurrying to the bathrooms with shower shoes and caddy in hand.
Tour groups are always especially delighted to see the boathouse where our eight hardworking interns live together (girls on one side, boys on the other) and the lodge filled with theater memoirs and old show posters. Other tour highlights include a walk through the prop shop (brimming with odd items) and of course seeing the dressing rooms and backstage walls covered with signatures from past players and old show posters.
It’s always a delight to learn about what people are most interested in and to be able to field some really great questions. I thought I would share a couple of these questions and their answers here:
Do actors ever bring their spouses or families with them for the summer?
In short, yes. In ideal situations, couples can both be employed at the theater. For example, Audra, our business manager, is married to Scott, the technical director. Their ninth-month old son, Conor, is also here experiencing his first summer with the players. Additionally, acting couples like Carmen Roman and Jim Leaming often perform in the same shows. For those whose significant others and/or family do not also work here, company members may make frequent trips back home on Mondays (our only day of the week without a show) or have their loved ones come visit.
What do you do if an actor gets sick…do you have understudies?
Unlike many theaters, we don’t have understudies. Traditionally, we say we knock on the theater’s 70-year old wood and cross our fingers. Of course, this doesn’t always work. Just last week, in fact, we had a bit of a scare when one of our lead actors in “Tom, Dick, and Harry”, Joe Foust, fell ill. It looked as though he might not be able to perform for a night or two and in fact might be unable to stay through the run of “Escanaba in Da Moonlight.” Immediately, everyone put their heads together to come up with alternate plans. An emergency rehearsal was scheduled, and Jim Leaming quickly began learning Foust’s role. Greg Vinkler, who is here directing “Escanaba,” was called in to learn Leaming’s role. Simultaneously, options were being pursued to hire a new actor to replace Foust in “Escanaba” if need be. Luckily, Chicago actor Matt Brumlow was in Door County working at Door Shakespeare and available to start daytime rehearsals here immediately. It was amazing to see actors prepared to switch roles in a matter of 12 hours. Thankfully, however, Joe Foust made it through the shows last week and seems to be recovering quickly so he can stay through the fall as planned.
When all is said and done, one thing is sure…there’s never a boring week at Peninsula Players. I hope you can join us for our Yooper comedy, “Escanaba in Da Moonlight” and perhaps come by for a tour on September 11 or post-show discussion on September 10 as well! For tickets, visit our website at www.peninsulaplayers.com or phone the box office at 920-868-3287. See you by the bay!