Five Question Friday (featuring popcorn…)

The other half of a very familiar theatre couple…Welcome, Gerry Love!

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Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
A: In first grade I played a tin soldier complete with a hat made out of a Quaker Oats box. It was part of a Christmas program and was a hit with all the parents and grandparents attending. I was scared to death.

 
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?

A:  No matter the endeavor, you can achieve more as part of a team with a singular goal than as an individual.

Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.

A: I performed as a butler in a production of the melodrama, The Streets of New York while working at a small theater in Dallas. Part of my duties included a crowd warm-up where I led the audience in singing songs of the era. Then I introduced the characters of the show and their musical themes, and the audience was encouraged to participate by cheering the hero, booing the villain and flinging popcorn at the scoundrel. Then, when it was time for the show, the lights were dimmed, the villain took his place onstage. Then the lights came up and his musical theme was played. To my amazement, the crowd sat mute. No boos. No popcorn. I had the first line of the show, so nothing was going to happen before I started. I decided to stop the show and repeated my instructions on the proper greeting for the villain. To emphasize the point, I went to a table in the first row and demonstrated the proper technique for launching popcorn. (I threw a handful directly in the face of the seated villain.) Then I instructed the technical director to reset and restart the show. This time when the lights came up, an enthusiastic audience launched an extended barrage of popcorn at the poor villain who sat balefully in place. I applauded the diligence of my students/audience upon my entrance. It became the best audience that I have performed for in my entire career. Clearly it was an example of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

Q: What is your dream role/show?
A; I have always been a fan of Howard Keel, so Fred in Kiss Me Kate or the Poet in Kismet will always be at the top of my list. Alas, my chance for both have probably passed me by.

Q: What is your current guilty TV pleasure?

G- Game of Thrones.

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Grace Austin is an STL area director and educator currently directing Little Shop of Horrors at East Central College.

See her work at gracemaustin.com

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