The next generation
In his Director’s Notes for Jolly Roger & the Pirate Queen,
Rey Rodriguez laments the end of his tenure at the Doug Williamson Performing Arts Center. This may have been his last production at the PAC, but I am confident that it is not his last production.
My kids were in the first Studio Players production: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. We had a discarded showbarn for a theatre. We pulled up 1000-yearold carpet with 1099 dead varmints underneath. We painted walls. We built risers. We put on an excellent play. We lost the theatre. (I learned how to spell “theatre” from Rey.) We found a new theatre. We lost it, too. There were outdoor performances. There were indoor performances with little or no heat or air conditioning. But Studio Players has gone on through the sheer force of Rey’s need to bring art to his home town . Give him four walls, and Rey can make a stage out of anything. In addition to plays, Studio Players sponsored art shows and scholarships.
I count Studio Players as an integral part of my children’s education. They learned to improvise when things go awry. They learned that life is definitely not a democracy. They learned to be responsible for their part in the group effort by learning lines and bringing props. They learned self-confidence. I remember Matthew Elmer as a toddler running around during play practice, and now he is an accomplished actor. Other Studio Players alumni have gone on to major in theatre, to act in adult theatre, even to act in a tv commercial or two.
Our community owes a huge debt of gratitude to Rey Rodriguez for having this dream of a children’s theatre. I can’t even count the number of lives he has affected.
Now, my children’s children are almost old enough to participate. Watch out Rey - we’re coming baaaaaaccckkk!