Curtain to rise on new Cottage Grove-area community theaterThe newly formed Locally Grown Theatre that hopes to draw audiences, actors, those who’ve always wanted to act and volunteers who want to support local theater to get involved with the budding theater.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Next month Robin Hood, his merry men and some super heroes will take a local audience along for a ride as they decide whether Robin Hood is, indeed, a super hero.
That’s the plan for performances Aug. 10-12 of a new community theater group in Cottage Grove. And if patrons attending the performances at Zion Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove are expecting to see the production on a conventional stage, they’re in for a pleasant surprise.
The play will be performed on the semi-wooded grounds of the church. The audience can take advantage of rustic seating, in this case, sitting on the ground or bringing blankets and lawn chairs. No reservations are necessary because the play is free.
The play, written by Tracy Caponigri, Park High School English teacher and director of many Park plays and musicals, is the first production of the newly formed Locally Grown Theatre that hopes to draw audiences, actors, those who’ve always wanted to act and volunteers who want to support local theater to get involved with the budding theater.
Zach Larsen’s father, Bill Larsen, is the play’s director. He tagged along to auditions because he likes the Robin Hood character. Zach didn’t think he would like acting but now, he’s hooked.
“I love it,” he said. “I’ll probably be doing lots of acting in the future.”
Bill’s daughter, Anna Maria, is also in the production and practicing the “mean face” necessary to play her role.
Bill did “a lot of theater” while earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and, in addition to directing Robin, serves on the theater’s board of directors.
Larsen said the experienced teen actors are a wonderful addition to the cast because they don’t need a lot of instructions.
“What good is experience if you don’t share it?” said Logan Greene, who was in Park’s “Bye Bye Birdie.”
Robert Briggs, who played Conrad Birdie in that production, said he tries to give the younger actors confidence.
Wendy Blasy, a Locally Grown Theatre board member, works behind the scenes in helping the cast stay on task. She’s an experienced costumer and set designer. When Robin Hood crosses the bridge, the stream will be blue fabric — thanks to Blasy’s work.
Blasy and the other actors hope the weather won’t be hot for the performances. Since it’s summer, she’s avoiding velvet and fur on the costumes.
“The theater is Tracy’s brain child,” Blasy said. “She wanted something that belongs to the community and Zion is donating the space.”
Those interested in joining the Locally Grown Theatre can get individual memberships for $10 and $25 per family. The theatre also has a Facebook page. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.