Wisdom in the Spotlight


Tracey Columns

It’s almost here, “Wisdom in the Spotlight,” a show that celebrates many of life’s most valuable lessons. Best of all? Each of these original stories has been written by some  of our wisest community members … people over fifty! It’s all happening November 7th and 9th, at The Arcata Playhouse and you’re invited!

As the happy host of this production, rehearsals have shown me that we’re going to have a great, two performance run. These folks have been an absolute joy to work with. They are enthusiastic, dedicated, and quite supportive of each other. And when each one of them reads his or her piece?  A wonderful silence falls over everyone, as we all take in the little pearl being presented for our consideration. Heads nod up and down in agreement, so familiar are some of the life experiences being shared. Not to be forgotten? Laughter, there is plenty of laughter to be enjoyed with this lively group of thoughtful readers!

I have to admit that when I conceived of this production last May, I had far more questions than answers. I knew straight away that I wanted to create this show as a benefit for HSU’s, OLLI, a stellar program for the adult learner. (www2.humboldt.edu/olli) It was gratifying that OLLI Director, Sheila Rocker Heppe, appreciated the concept of the show immediately.

I also knew that it would be great fun to rope my dear friend of many years, Valerie Gillette Bourne, into the mix. A talented and experienced theater person, we’ve done a number of productions together. I knew her expertise would add dimension to the production. I also knew she was a hoot to work with and having her along for the ride would be downright fun.

However, beyond these two essentials, I honestly had no idea if this production was even feasible. But one little bit of wisdom that I tend to live by propelled me into action – I wouldn’t know unless I tried.

I went back to those critical questions.There was a location to secure and my favorite little space, The  Arcata Playhouse, was available. Sponsors were needed. A big ‘thank you’ St. Joseph Hospital, KIEM, News Channel 3, and the Area 1 Agency on Aging. Each signed on with enthusiasm for, and belief in, the concept of the show. Then there was one of the most important question of all – identifying and selecting the readers, those brave and thoughtful souls who are the very core of this production!

This is where it all became bit curious. I put out the call for submissions last August, not beginning to know if my idea would even begin to resonate with others. Imagine my surprise when submissions came pouring in. Over forty people took the time to compose an essay. Of these, eighteen were asked to audition in person. (Believe me, it was not an easy task to make these decisions.) And of these, ten were selected for the cast.

Now, here we all are, just 24 hours away from opening night and I could not be feeling any more enthused about this production. The way each of these people addresses their individual subject is wonderful. I am convinced that their wisdom belongs in the spotlight!

If you live in the area, please join us at The Arcata Playhouse, either Friday night, November 7, at 7:00 or Sunday, November 9 for a 2:00 matinee. Tickets are $15 and reservations can be made by calling OLLI at 826-5880.

P.S. I’m all over the place this weekend! (How fortunate can one 63 year old be?) Don’t forget the 20th Anniversary Concert of The Babes, Saturday night, November 8, at the Eureka Women’s Club. We’ll be performing our most favorite songs!

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