Getting Into Getting Out

Originally posted on the blog Muttering Retreats by RCP’s own Heather Hudson. Her words about what it feels like to get out resonates with us as we deal with the ever changing pandemic world we all must adapt to.

I used to suffer from mild panic attacks. This isn’t that. I don’t feel panicked, exactly. But there has been a flutter in my heart. A feeling of having swallowed a bunch of stones. A tickle in the back of my head like you get when you feel someone is staring at you.

Like feathers.

I’m no stranger to ambivalence about things that I love. My best example? Community theatre. I’ve been on the stage since the womb, thanks to my mother’s love for the art which she kindly passed along to me through the umbilical cord, and I have enjoyed every minute of it … and also have been completely horrified by it. Some people jump out of airplanes in order to get that sweet, powerful rush of feeling more alive than alive; all I have to do is pretend to be someone else in front of a crowd.

In order to do this, however, I’ve had to drop a few tricks into my bag of holding. Deep breathing. Running through all my lines at a breakneck pace 30 minutes before curtain. Listening to that perfect song that I’ve been listening to prior to every rehearsal, that puts me into the headspace of my character. Creating that textbook “moment before” and focusing on that singular thought. All of these things move my stage fright needle an inch or two.

But the best trick I’ve ever been taught, to deal with this unwanted brain-guest otherwise known as anxiety, is to focus on the hope. Which isn’t that hard, because excitement (hope) and fear actually come from the same area of emotion, and I am legitimately excited about being on stage. Sure, the reality is that both feelings are happening, but with practice, I’ve gotten better at choosing which one to focus on. By choosing the more positive, “excited” and “hopeful” interpretation, I’ve been able to hone in on a more fun part of my emotional life and give a backseat to the dread.

So I’ve starting going out, because I love it, the way I love being on the boards. And these days it’s more similar than ever to that going-live-in-front-of-an-audience feeling. And all the love-hate that comes with it

But I’ve been doing it. I’ve re-entered society, a little bit, going here and there. To outdoor concerts, half empty restaurants, and the biggest undertaking (but perhaps most rewarding) of them all: sat in a chair in the salon for 3 hours for a full court press color and cut. I even attended a small wedding.

And when I feel the flutter of fear, I push my mask a little tighter against my cheeks, and think of Emily and her little bird.

Now that we’re struggling with vicious variants and mixed messages and the daily drama of the pathetically political, I still find myself reaching for those feathers, like a modern day Dumbo.

Because that darned little creature refuses to stop singing

True to Emily’s word, it never stops, at all.

Heather Hudson has been a member of Rosedale Community Players since 2009, and was last seen in “Cliff Dwellers”, one of many short plays featured in RCP’s 2019 One Act Festival.  Over the years she has also served as actor, director, producer, and sound designer at RCP. Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University and works at a professional services organization in Detroit as a vendor contract negotiator. In her free time, Heather enjoys writing (especially blogging), acting, photography, and watching endless Netflix entertainment with her three teenagers and two cats.

Let’s Try Some Improv!

Hello everyone! First I want to apologize for a lack of any posts in the last few weeks. We have been busy trying to plan new and exciting opportunities for our members and patrons since the world is slowly starting to open back up to live theatre!

And it is indeed slowly coming back! Just in the last week, RCP hosted a Virtual One Acts Fest, and we are excited to see some of our fellow community theatres starting to schedule outdoor performances. In fact we are really looking forward to Ridgedale Players outdoor production of Freaky Friday, which features a face familiar from the RCP stage, John Tonkovich. It also features RCP’s own newsletter Editor, Lily Godau.

We are really hopeful for many more in-person shows being available within the year! So are you ready to start auditioning again?

Well, you are in luck! We are hosting an Improv Workshop with local performer David Moan that will help you gain new skills and it has the potential to really help improve your auditions and performances. It is a one evening workshop, so it is the perfect way to start getting warmed up for the upcoming theatre season!

Now, who is David Moan? I first met him a decade ago as the musical director while performing at another area theatre, I could not sing. At all. But under his direction I learned that I was ranged incorrectly, and  I have much more control.  Finally I can sing without making all of the neighborhood dogs howl! So he has always been one of my favorite instructors.

Since then, he has become a friend and one of my favorite local performers. His performance as Ash in Evil Dead the Musical has turned our family into dedicated Deadites. 

So when I was looking for an improv teacher for my son, I was thrilled when he volunteered. And during the pandemic, when all classes were online, my kids were totally over it. However, Online Improv with David has remained Charlie’s favorite activity. He now asks me to text David every time he makes a joke. I don’t (you’re welcome, David), but I love that Charlie has developed a love for this skill that will help him no matter what he does in life.

Improv is known to build confidence, because you learn to listen and think on your feet. And with a good improv team, you learn to work together. All skills that will apply on stage, or doing a presentation for your clients or boss.

“You get all the benefits of theatre,” says David about Improv. “Good public speaking skills, self confidence, physical awareness… and an idea of how we work together as a team.”

“But what improv also gives us is life skills that you can apply outside of the theatre,” he continues. “Listening is a key tenet in improv. So is empathy. Putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Thinking like somebody else.”

David says improv gets us to think outside of the box to problem solve as a team. 

So many benefits that can help you inside the theatre and out!

In the improv world David is one half of the musical improv group Torch Song with Jeremy St. Martin and as a cast member of the revival cast of Rock-o-Matic at Go Comedy. He also coaches the Improv Club at Dexter High School.

When relying on other people’s words and music, David can be seen on some of the most renowned stages in the area. Notable performances include John Wilkes Booth in Assassins (Wilde Award Winning) and Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd (Wilde Award Nominated) at the Encore Musical Theater Company, Martin in Candide with the Michigan Opera Theater, and Ash in Evil Dead The Musical (Wilde Award Nominated) with The Ringwald Theatre. 

And I would be remiss to write about David without telling you he is a huge Batman fan. 

So please join us Tuesday, May 25th 7pm for what promises to be a lot of fun, while stretching our skillset. Cost is $27 for the 90 minute workshop. Click here to sign up.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

Try Something New: Audition!

Advice From RCP Veterans For Your Audition!

Next week, Rosedale Community Players will be holding our first auditions in over a year! And we want YOU (yes, you) to consider auditioning.

After over a year of having your activities limited, aren’t you ready to stretch your acting muscle, or try something new? Whether you are an experienced actor, or you have always wanted to try your hand at acting, we will be rooting for you.

When you audition for our upcoming One Act Fest, you will be given scenes from the One Act scripts to read and perform for our show’s directors via Zoom.

I will admit that for me, personally, auditioning rattles my nerves more than performances in front of an audience. But it doesn’t get easier until you just start jump in and try it.

“Take a deep breath and audition,” says RCP VP Barb Mathers. “Veterans are only veterans because we took that first step, gathered our courage, found our passion and hit the boards running.”

It is easy to feel like you are being judged when auditioning. But remember that directors aren’t looking for perfection. Characters and stories tend to evolve once they start putting the puzzle pieces of their production together, which includes finding the cast that helps bring their vision to life.

“Don’t try to be perfect,” says Eric Goldstein, who both acts and directs at RCP. “We’re looking for willingness. We’re looking for potential. And if we give you some direction, we’re looking to see if you can take direction.”

And in fact, when you read for a part, don’t try to jump to conclusions about a character and their energy.

“Change it up if you get to read more than once,” suggests RCP actor and director Larry Rink. “Directors like to see versatility.”

And don’t get stuck on the character you want to play.

“Read for any part that is a possibility, no matter how slight,” shares RCP member Janet Turner.

I will tell you honestly, my favorite character that I have ever played is a character I don’t think I would have ever purposely auditioned for. It stretched me beyond what I thought I was capable of. When I said I couldn’t, my director, RCP member Claudia Scott (who will also be one of our One Act directors), encouraged me to go above and beyond. It was scary. But it was so very rewarding.

And while at its surface, acting seems to be about pretending, the most successful performers are able to bring an authenticity to their roles.

“Find the character’s motivation and make the character your own,” says RCP member Carole Shirley-Browne. “Be ‘real’ and have fun.”

Laurie Smalis, one of our One Act directors, agrees. “Be honest and true to the character. Relax . Be natural,” she says.

No one knows his characters better than playwright Tony Targan. His script “Home for the Challah Days” will be performed in the Virtual One Acts Festival. But he likes to see the different interpretation of these characters.

“Don’t try to become a ‘character’,” he recommends. “Draw upon an authentic, slightly dramatized version of yourself.”

And if you are thinking that it is too late to start acting now, I want to challenge that. I did not step on stage until I was nearly 40. If I can do it, I can guarantee you that you can too, as long as it is something you have a drive to do.

“Most community theaters I know make room for people exactly in your shoes,” says RCP member and playwright Dave Durham, whose script “Moments” is part of the festival. “If they see a spark of ambition and even a glimmer of talent, there is a good chance you will get a call to join the cast. Obviously a MUCH better chance than if you don’t audition. Come to auditions. You are welcome there.”

Most of all, we want everyone that comes to auditions to have fun. RCP president Chuck Goddeeris stresses this with his words of wisdom.

“Relax, have fun, make big choices, have fun, be confident in your decisions,” he says. “Have fun, don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself.”

So take a deep breathe and jump in. And no matter what the outcome, be proud of yourself because it is hard to break out of your comfort zone. But trying new things is the spice of life.

“Take a deep breath and let it out right before you start reading/monologuing,” says Meg Berger, who is spearheading our Virtual One Act Fest. “Have fun. Go big. It’s always easier to bring an actor’s energy down rather than bringing an actor’s energy up. Directors will notice that. Reward yourself after your audition whether you get the part or not. Auditioning is hard work and you’re awesome for attempting it!”

For up-to-date information on our Virtual One Acts Fest see our event page on Facebook.

If you are ready to claim your audition spot sign up here.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

RCP’s First Virtual One Act Festival

Rosedale Community Theatre is excited to be presenting our first ever virtual One Act Festival!

Our annual live One Act Fest was derailed in 2020 (I am sure we don’t have to tell you why!!). I missed this popular kick off to our season, which was a great way to showcase local writers and actors. The One Acts was my first RCP event, and I have come to relish seeing both veterans and newbies on stage together for these 10-15 minute plays.

And I love opportunities for local playwrights to submit new scripts. I am always in awe of all of the talent we have locally.

So I was super excited when member Meg Berger proposed to spearhead a Virtual One Act Festival with the tagline “From Script to Screen in One Month”.

Last week we put out out a call for scripts and within seven days and we had 13 submissions.

Five scripts were selected:

A Call for Directors

Have you ever wanted to direct? Think fast! Because we need names of all people interested by tomorrow April 16th. If this piques your interest email ASAP!

If you have thought about directing, but this is all too sudden, stick around and get involved with RCP. As we are able to offer more performances, there will be opportunities to get some experience behind the scenes. Follow this blog, as we hope to have some upcoming artilces on directing too.

Upcoming Auditions

Auditions will be formally announced after director selections, but we are aiming for them to be on or around April 21. The best way to stay up to date with upcoming opportunities is to follow us on our Facebook page.

Auditions and rehearsals will take place via Zoom. We encourage all skill levels to give auditioning a shot. If you have always wanted to give acting a try, this is the perfect opportunity!

And with our virtual One Acts being presented online, all of your family members can safely watch your performance from the comfort of their own home. From your cousin Ted in Alaska to your Grandparents in Florida!

We Love an Audience

If you aren’t able to come be part of our One Acts team as a director or performer, we still hope you will consider letting us entertain you. We have all be itching to get back to performing art and now, after flying high from the success of our online radio show, The Maltese Falcon, we are excited to bring even more artists’ work to your screen.

We hope to premiere our performance around May 22nd. Stay tuned to this site for more news about our show!

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

Tell Your Story!

Have you ever entertained the thought of writing a story? 

Or even more, dreamed about having your story come to life on stage? With actors taking the words you crafted, and bringing the characters you dreamed up into existence.

What is stopping you? As someone who has done a little script writing here and there, I often say the biggest hurdle is time. But if I’m being honest, it is scary! 

However, opportunities to get our scripts read are all around us here in the Metro Detroit theatre community. With so many theatres hosting One Act Festivals that embrace local playwrights, it is a great opportunity to try your hand at writing.

So a few weeks ago I reached out to a few Rosedale Community Players members that write, and have had their shows performed, for advice and inspiration to get those of us teetering on the edge of writing and procrastinating to just sit down and put pen to paper.

Meg Berger’s first script, “Sisters Before Misters” is special to me personally, because it was the first time I auditioned and performed at RCP. 

Meg was motivated to write this script when RCP put out a call for one act scripts for their annual One Act Festival and fundraiser in 2018. While she had written novels before, this was her first script, so she wrote what she knew. Her script was inspired by her own life.

Script writing has provided a good outlet for her to achieve her goal of seeing more women’s stories created.

“Too often women get cast as the romantic interest or the mother and that’s their point in the show, they are there to move the plot forward for the male lead.,” says Meg. “And women aren’t just love interests or mothers. We’re so much more than that. I really make a point of focusing on that when I write.”

A One Act Festival was also the motivation for playwright Maureen Paraventi to write her first script. She made it her goal to write something to submit. It was accepted and even won an award for being an audience favorite.

For Maureen, script writing allows her to see how people respond to her work.

“It’s a format that allows you to actually see the audience’s reaction to your work,” says Maureen. “I write fiction and nonfiction as well. When someone reads a book you’ve written, you rarely find out what they thought about it.”

Those reactions took time to appreciate. In the beginning it was tough to watch and see what people thought

“I felt so self-conscious the first time I sat in an audience and watched a play I wrote be performed. It was excruciating!” says Maureen.  “But when I realized that the audience was responding to the characters and conflicts, I started to relax. Now I’m pretty Zen about it.”

Dave Durham also got his start in script writing with RCP’s One Act Fest. An avid writer that writes poetry, song lyrics and even creates and writes board games, he considers writing his way of painting.

So it was natural that when RCP member Heather Hudson was spearheading our very first One Act Fest, that she asked Dave to consider submitting something.

“I procrastinated and fretted right up to the deadline, then handed in barely enough to be considered,” reflects Dave. “ That play, Royally Touched, was such a great experience, I haven’t stopped. “

In 2020 Dave’s full length play Of Divine Interest won First place in the Community Theatre Association of Michigan’s Annual Playwriting Contest. And RCP is excited that we will be producing this show in our next live season.

New playwrights tend to have a lot of excuses not to start. For instance, how do you find the time to write?  

Dave suggests scheduling time, just as you would s doctor’s appointment. Make that time a priority and stick to it.

Maureen also points out that you do not need huge blocks of time to write. She suggests squeezing in time whenever you find it. 

And Meg says it is important to know what will work best for you.

“If you’re a morning person, get up early and write. If you’re a night person, try to sneak in a few pages of writing at night,” she suggests.  I have even written during my lunch.”

Like many newbies, I always claimed I didn’t have the time. But then the pandemic hit, and I had a lot more time. So I had to come up with a new excuse. I couldn’t get my creative juices flowing.

And the pandemic seemed to stunt Meg’s creativity too. She ended up turning to writing prompts to get her started again and has made it her goal to write at least once a week.

For Maureen, inspiration happens everywhere. She observes, listens and imagines all of the time. The biggest issue for her is finding the time to develop the ideas she comes up with. 

Dave is inspired by stories he hears on NPR, or even through friends.

And when writer’s block hits, he advises that you step away and work on something else.

“I often have three or four artistic projects going at once.  My best script ideas hit me while driving or doing household chores,” says Dave. “ I immediately hit the record button on the phone’s voice app and blurt it out in one steady stream.   When I  sit down again to write, I listen to all the ideas and pick out the best.”

Meg once told me, before I started a script, that to get started writing, I have to just start writing. She said I shouldn’t expect my first script to be good, but I will never get better until I get through that experience. 

With my lowered expectations, I was able to finish a script. And it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be!

After you finish your first script what do you do with it? 

Personally, I sent mine in to a One Acts Fest. It did not get selected but I did get useful feedback to create a better second draft. 

But that is part of the process for a writer just starting out. Maureen said that if she could go back in time to give herself advice in the beginning she would tell herself to “learn how to take constructive criticism earlier. I’m fine with it now, but as a beginning writer, I was sensitive. Everyone is going to have an opinion. Take everything in, but take it all with a grain of salt. Not every bit of feedback is useful, or fits your intentions for your play.”

And Dave says that while it is important to get other eyes on your script, but be selective at first.

“Don’t be so quick to spread around your work to everyone you know as soon as you have a first draft.   Find reader’s groups, or get a group together to read it out loud, then work on what didn’t quite sound right,” says Dave. “There are so many wonderful groups in the area, and they are hungry for new scripts to peek at.  Many of them have actual actors among them so you get an interpretation, instead of just a critique at the end.“

Rosedale Community Players has a script writing group that will resume meeting when things get closer to normal that does just that. The group is composed of both readers and actors (many of us are both) and we provide encouragement and guidance for script writers both new and seasoned.

So to be a writer, all you really have to do is to start writing. What are you waiting for?

To stay up-to-date on our next One Act Fest, follow us on Facebook.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

Community Theatre: There is a Place For You Here!

My family has been involved with community theatre for a decade now. When I tell people about it, I have had quite a few people say, “Really? I wish I could do something like that.”

But the thing is, you totally can. Everyone can!

When I tell people that they usually say something like they can’t act, or sing, etc. 

I couldn’t either.

I had always wanted to try theatre growing up but thought I couldn’t. Then I sort of fell into it as an adult. 

My first step into the theatre world was as a stage mom. My daughter had speech issues when she was young, so I thought getting involved in theatre classes would help.  And she took a shine to it. So we kept finding classes to get involved with.

Then we heard about a theatre near us, Warren Civic Theatre, that did open casting for some of their shows. 

I will never forget her very first audition there. I thought, “Well, this will never be her thing.” But since they had open casting, she automatically landed a role in the ensemble and it sounded like a pretty fun way for her to stay active during the summer break.

She loved it. As she got used to being on stage, her inner star became more bold and confident. So she ended up doing shows there almost continuously for a few years. After two years, the artistic director said to me in passing at a rehearsal, “You know, you’re here at every rehearsal, you might as well get on stage yourself.”

That thought simmered with me for a while. For a whole year. I tossed it over.  I shared it with my best friend who said, “Why not? I’ll audition for a show too.”

I had a lot of fun with my kids, with my friend, and with my castmates that became new friends. I didn’t want it to end!

I had more courage than I ever thought I had. 

I have learned that open casting can be controversial. Some people tell me that it is not “competitive” enough. But I will tell you with 100% confidence that if there had not been a theatre with open casting, no one in my family would be involved in the theatre. 

That thought makes me sad.

During youth productions, the costuming department at WCT taught me how to sew. This is something I have always wanted to learn, but never seemed to have the time. Now it was a way to help the kids. 

Getting to know other actors got us out and about to see shows at other community theatres too. Our theatre world kept expanding.

And I even tried my hand at singing. With great musical directors that had the patience of saints, I actually improved. I went from clearing a room with my singing, to merely scaring small children!

As luck would have it, one of the friends that I had made doing theatre reached out to me about Rosedale Community Players. They were doing their annual One Acts Festival, and one of her scripts was being produced. She encouraged me to audition because it would be a very small time commitment.

I was intrigued because RCP performs all plays, so there would be more parts that were a better fit for my singing talents (which are slightly more than none). That was the first time I stepped into RCP.

And I made it in!

Cast members from our 2019 One Act Festival rehearse together

The special thing about RCP, is that no one ever makes you feel like a stranger there. You become part of the family immediately. 

From that experience stemmed other wonderful opportunities within the next year. I stage managed for the very first time. When I was asked, I remember saying, “I don’t know how to do that!” The producer of the show said it was easy, and they could teach me. 

It wasn’t exactly easy, but it was something I really needed to do. It made me realize that I like being part of a production team as much as I like being on stage. You get to make the magic from behind the scenes, and it is pretty gratifying.

Next I was asked if I wanted to be on the Board of Directors. Something else I never considered, but find very rewarding.

I met playwrights and actually started writing scripts. Knowing I can sit down and create my own world is pretty cool. And we have a whole group of people that are willing to read over your scripts and make suggestions to make it better. They are so very encouraging and willing to share their vast experiences

So you don’t have to have any special skills to be a part of the theatre community, just a passion to want to contribute. And you have to love working as a team.

RCP members pitching in to create a set

As the world slowly crawls back to normal, I would invite you to think about joining us at RCP (or a community theatre near you). The imaginary lives we create on stage change everyone involved for the better.

So along with my new hobby came so many new friends and experiences that have just made my life richer. I hope you get to experience that too.

If you would like to become a member of Rosedale Community Player for the 2021-222 season visit this link.

Devene Godau has been a member of RCP since the 2018 One Acts Festival and is currently the Promotions Chair on the Board of Directors. Devene holds a B.A. in Journalism from Michigan State University. She works as a freelance writer as well as a professional dog trainer when not helping out at the theatre. She lives in Metro Detroit with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two cats and a tortoise.

Meet RCP’s Maltese Falcon Director: Laurie Smalis

The Maltese Falcon radio show was the first show Rosedale Community Players has produced using this format. And it has exceeded our expectations! Viewers have shared with us how much they have enjoyed this unique performance!

Lost On Stage contributor, Heather Hudson, recently interviewed the show’s director, Laurie Smalis, about RCP and the Maltese Falcon!

Heather Hudson: Hello Laurie! First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. You’ve been one of our go-to directors for so long, and we’d be remiss not to share your story with our community (and the blogosphere). Shall we start with how you became a part of RCP?

LAURIE: Back in the 90’s some friends took me to see some RCP shows. I was very impressed with the talent and thought that I wanted to get involved. Well, life got in the way and I wasn’t able to join until the 2000’s. I had directed many plays over the years in college and other theatre groups. Directing is my passion. My first show directing for RCP was Flemming.

Laurie Smalis directed Fleming (An American Thriller) by Sam Bobrick at Rosedale Community Players

HH:  That passion absolutely shows, in everything you do!  I can only imagine how challenging this “pandemic pause” has been, being away from the physical stage.  How have you been keeping art in your life, outside of your recent RCP production of The Maltese Falcon?  

LAURIE: I had actually not been doing anything artistically other than watching old movies. I was getting so antsy to do something and remembered my parents talking about radio shows “back in the day”. I thought, well, why not? These are the perfect circumstances to bring it back.

HH:  I agree, a million percent. How did The Maltese Falcon get on your radar, exactly?  Was it your first virtual directing gig, or one of many?  

LAURIE: I have always been a Humphrey Bogart fan. When I found that the original radio script was in public domain, I knew that was the show I had to do. This was my first virtual gig. 

HH:  As Hannibal would say, “I love it when a plan comes together”.  I suspect it had its share of joys and struggles. What was your greatest challenge to overcome in putting the show together?  In other words, what words of wisdom do you have for other people thinking about directing online theatre?

LAURIE: The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how we were going to put this together and to make it look like more than just an average zoom meeting. 

HH: Well said.  How about one of your favorite moments — a “happy accident” or “magic of theatre” moment that reminded you why we do this thing called art?

LAURIE: Well, there were more than just one moment: The professionalism of the actors that I chose and their ability to adapt to this venue (we did not have auditions because I wasn’t sure if this would work). Our foley artist, Calvin Carson, stepping up and really taking on the role of an old fashioned sound effects man, and our sound and music editor. And I guess just how good it turned out!

HH: You certainly have a lot to be proud of with this production, and we could probably chat about it for hours … but I think Devene is going to drop the curtain on me in a second. Let’s close this out with a preview of projects on your list to tackle when we’re all back together again, doing live shows at RCP – do you have anything on your radar?

LAURIE: Yes, I was selected to direct “Of Divine Interest”, written by our own Dave Durham, for the winter of 2020. Well, we all know how that turned out. So now, if all goes well, I will be directing it for the upcoming RCP season. Fingers crossed because it’s a very funny show, and everyone needs a good laugh these days. 

HH: I cannot wait to see it.  Laurie, you’ve been amazing, thanks again for taking the time. And to all the readers out there, stay safe, stay well, and keep making good art.

Heather Hudson has been a member of Rosedale Community Players since 2009, and was last seen in “Cliff Dwellers”, one of many short plays featured in RCP’s 2019 One Act Festival.  Over the years she has also served as actor, director, producer, and sound designer at RCP. Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University and works at a professional services organization in Detroit as a vendor contract negotiator. In her free time, Heather enjoys writing (especially blogging), acting, photography, and watching endless Netflix entertainment with her three teenagers and two cats.

Celebrating the Golden Age of Radio

Today, February 13, 2021, is World Radio Day. A day when we celebrate how radio brings us together. Because before there was the World Wide Web, there was the radio, broadcasting shows, news and stories from all over the world.

As a community theatre that isn’t able to gather together to rehearse or perform, we decided to revisit this medium that brought families together for decades before we moved on to the glows of our TVs, and later, our electronic devices.

I grew up hearing stories from my family about being gathered around the radio listening to the news, or a soap opera. I couldn’t quite grasp it.

And I will never forget watching The Night That Panicked America on TV as a child. This was a made for TV movie from 1975 that told the story of the chaos that hit the country during the 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds. I could not wrap my head around the type of power this medium held to create that type of immense panic.

But the radio and the info it gave us was part of the fabric of American life. Families in small towns and big cities alike could listen to the same concerts, dramas, and sports.

C. E. Hooper Company did a survey in 1947 that found that 82 out of 100 Americans claimed to listen to the radio.

Just this Christmas, my father told us a story about what a radio meant to his family. He grew up in a small mining town in the upper peninsula of Michigan. 

My dad remembers when his family first installed electricity in their home. They couldn’t afford to purchase both lights and a radio.  My grandmother decided on a radio.

I was a little surprised. But my dad said that his mother wanted the radio because it could bring the world to them. Hearing that made sense. And he has so many fond memories of listening to the radio with his family and learning about the world from his small town. The thought of getting news about World War 2 moments after it was reported seemed so sophisticated.

For years, I grew up visiting my mom’s childhood home, also in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The radio still stood in the living room, but I never remember it working. And I always thought it was so pretty it was just part of the decor.

My mom’s mother used to listen to Guiding Light on the radio, before it was broadcast on TV on CBS. A habit that was passed on once the show moved to television.

My family recently sold that house, and with it the radio. I just asked my mom if she had a picture of that old radio. She said she did in a way. Years ago, while visiting Elvis Presely’s Graceland, she was amused to see that Elvis (or at least his house) had the exact same radio. From a small town in the country to the King of Rock and Roll, the radio was accessible to most Americans.

So you may be able to imagine how excited I was when RCP president Chuck Goddeeris asked if anyone had a radio script they would like to propose for a new project. And then, RCP director Laurie Smalis answered that call!

She chose to direct the original radio script of the Maltese Falcon from 1941. Her production features a few RCP favorites!

And for those of you, like me, that are fascinated at the pure genius of the Foley Artist, our broadcast on Youtube will show our foley artist in action. I can’t wait for my kids to see this aspect of the production.

Our production will premier on the Rosedale Community Players Youtube Channel on Friday, February 26th at 8 pm. It is free to watch, but you will have the opportunity to donate to RCP, so we can keep finding ways to bring art to our community.

We hope you will join us. And while the production is free of charge, we do hope you will consider making a donation while enjoying our show. This has been a difficult year for all of us. So while we have enjoyed getting creative in order to perfor, we also hope to raise funds so when we can perform live again, we come back stronger than ever.

And if you have stories about listening to the radio during its Golden Age, please send us those stories. We would love to share them as we celebrate this wonderfully historical medium. Contact us via our website or on our Facebook page.

Devene Godau, Rosedale Community Player Promotions Chair

One Act Festival 2015 – Meet Playwright Lance Alan

Tonight is opening night for the 5th Annual One Act Festival @ Rosedale Community Players.  The actors have been hard at work for over two months and ready to present their labors to an audience.  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you may even get scared out of your seat.  We’ve got plays of all types including one or two that we hope will lead to interesting discussions.

One such piece that will probably do all of the above is written by esteemed RCP member Lance Alan.  Lance has been a part of every One Act Festival at RCP – the first 3 editions featured him as a playwright and director and last year he was the Artistic Director.  He is with us in our 5th edition of the One Act Festival with his newest piece, which he is also directing, Recoil (Richard James & The Death of The American Dream).  Let’s learn more about Lance.

Lance Alan in RCP’s 2015 Production of Time Stands Still


1)  What is your day job?

By day and sometimes night I run my own dog walking business. It’s great because not only do I get to spend all day outside with my furry friends, I have a lot of time to think and work things out. I wrote most of Recoil on the streets of West Bloomfield. If you ever see me walking down the road babbling mindlessly to myself, I’m not crazy. I’m just writing a play.

2)  Why did you start writing plays?

I started writing plays shortly after getting interested in theatre. I was taking acting classes, performing in plays, seeing a lot of plays, reading scripts, and it just occurred to me that I should try it. My first play was produced in the summer of 2000 as part of a local one act festival. Since then, I’ve just kept writing and somehow my plays keep finding their way to the stage. I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of friends and local theatre in these endeavors.

3)  Why did you write this play in particular?

We’re living in a time when corporations have unprecedented power. I wanted to hold up a fractured fun house mirror to that.

4)  What are you most looking forward to with this show?

I look forward to watching the shows with the audience while munching on the free popcorn.

5)  What’s next for you in terms of playwriting?

I have more plays started than I will ever finish. I just keep throwing stuff at the wall and going with whatever sticks.

There are only 4 performances: 8 pm on Thursday, September 10th, Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th as well as a matinee on Saturday, September 12th @ 2 pm.  RCP features cabaret-style assigned seating so reserve your seats today for the low cost of $10 each!

One Act Festival 2015 – Meet Playwright Tony Targan

We are in the home stretch of preparations for the 5th Annual One Act Festival @ Rosedale Community Players.  Everyone is refreshed from their Labor Day weekend and we are hosting an open dress rehearsal this evening (Tuesday, September 8th) before we open on Thursday night.

We have a diverse set of shows, leading off with a very unique look at relationships in Thought Bubbles, which is written by Tony Targan.  Tony is no stranger to our One Act Festival as he wrote and directed his piece Singchronicity in last year’s edition as well as starred in The Wager, written by Lance Alan.  Let’s learn more about him.

Lance Alan (left) and Tony Targan (right) in The Wager (2013)


1)  What is your day job?

I’m in-house counsel for ProQuest, a technology company that provides research data and software to libraries.

2)  Why did you start writing plays?

I’ve been inspired by my father, Barry Targan, who is an accomplished author.  I’ve written a lot of non-fiction for Michigan Runner magazine and, and I have my own theater blog (Playing The Barn).  Short plays seemed like a good entry into fiction, which is much harder.

3)  Why did you write this play in particular?

I wrote Thought Bubbles because I think it’s interesting to contrast what people say and what they think.  We all have that inner voice that represents our deepest wants and needs, but as we age, we tend to behave in ways that society expects, rather than being true to ourselves.  Sometimes it’s hard to “listen” to yourself.  I also wanted to capture the complexities of relationships in the Internet age, particularly for people who have been off the dating grid for awhile.  (Luckily, I’ve been married for 30 years, so this is all pure fiction, although I do happen to share many of the same interests as William, the character I play.)

4)  What are you most looking forward to with this show?

The audience’s reaction.  In my humble opinion, this is a really funny play and I can’t wait to hear people laugh.

5)  What’s next for you in terms of playwriting?

I’m working on another one-act, an absurdist corporate comedy tentatively titled There’s No Y in Business.  I would also like to start a writer’s club to compare notes with fellow playwrights and perform workshops of our works-in-progress.

Remember, there will be performances at 8 pm on Thursday, September 10th, Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th as well as a matinee on Saturday, September 12th @ 2 pm.  RCP features cabaret-style assigned seating so reserve your seats today for the low cost of $10 each!