Putting on a Show

Lee, Allan ad Stephen

By Lou Christine

Community Theater usually chooses a tried-and-true stage play and then showcases amateur and aspiring actors who for the most part merely memorize lines, then go out and wing it. That’s far from the case in San Miguel. Our community is blessed with a diverse talent pool boasting a wealth of stage experience. Yet, away from the stage lights, behind the scenes there’s another group, in the form of the cracker-jack production team. They, for the most part, are indispensable, hard at work, and unlikely to bask in the limelight or be on the receiving end of audience applause. Their skills and attention to detail are often the determining factor during a successful run.

Sherlock Holmes – The Final Adventure
Fri, Feb 27 and Sat, Feb 28, 7:30pm
Sat, Feb 28, 2:30pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta
50-300 pesos

Bajío Reps’ presentation of Sherlock HolmesThe Final Adventure, directed by Allan Gross, opened this past Wednesday, February 25, at the Angela Peralta. Scheduled are just five performances, the last two on Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30pm. Rehearsals have taken place almost every day since Christmas. That’s dedication considering there are just five performances! Take into account direction, script-mastering stage-managing, props, the business, publicity, design/scenery, light/sound, costumes.

Some of the production team shared their thoughts prior to opening night.

Assistant director Lee Harris spoke of the challenge, “Breathing life into the most iconic detective of all time, a specialized and sophisticated character, whom audiences are ever-so familiar with, can be daunting!” Stage manager Harriet Catania acknowledged the challenge. “Live performances are complex, temporary, art pieces with different elements needing to come together. Some challenges are similar, some unique, yet in reality they’re merely passing moments and aren’t everlasting.”

Props maven Steve Slade said, “It’s been demanding creating a set fitting authentic 19th-century Europe. If I couldn’t find a proper prop, I’d have to make it!” Mark Wirganowizc, Bajio Rep’s business manager, may not perform on stage, but when it comes to budgets, anticipating turn-outs, accountability, paying bills—well, that’s some act. Chuck Rubin, no stranger to the theater scene in San Miguel, has been designing audio for 40 years. Rubin spoke about pulling off synchronized sound cues in order to enhance the audience’s experience while presenting authentic sounds of the era, like the clippity-clop of horse hooves, the ambience of the opera, and other effects, all timed directly off the script, flashing hand signals, and doing so with Spanish speaking technicians.

From Holmes deerstalker’s cap to the elegance of the Victorian age, costume designer Debra Bigge, who’s been sewing since she was eight, accommodates and coordinates 18 various costumes changes. Some outfits were rented, others had to be made from scratch.

The Playbill is the creation of graphic designer Ed Hutton. I drew up newspaper ads and publicity while getting the word out. Siobhan Byrne came aboard as dialect coach. Director Allan Gross, point man for Bajio Rep, assembled the on-stage team smartly backed up by those behind the scenes, with Gross delegating authority to present the very best in theater possible here in San Miguel.


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