Boquete Community Players: A true cast of characters!

Blog by Terry Richmeier

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So my questions begin, and boy do I have MANY! When I wanted to know about acting, theater and the many different plays that the Boquete Community Players routinely performs, I thought I would go right to the source!

BarbaraFMeet Barbara Fiorucci – my guru for information! I inundated her with questions in the last week or two and found out some very interesting things. Take a look below.

One of my very first questions was about my confusion with the name “BCP” and wondered if there was more than one group of theater companies in Boquete. Barbara told me BCP that stands for Boquete Community Players. Barbara shared, “There are many players past and present who have graced our stage- both on and off. Ours is a community theater that involves anyone and everyone in our area that enjoys experiencing the arts- in the audience, backstage and onstage. The arts include, not only full and one act plays, but concerts, musical reviews, movies, speakers and media displays. All things Arts for everyone!” Wow, that’s exciting!

 

Then I thought, are the plays done only in English or are they in Spanish as well? I’m so glad I asked that question as I found out, during the last ten years of BCP history, the 2plays and musicals have all been performed in English with some Spanglish thrown in from time-to-time and some Spanish language songs but not a full-fledged Spanish play. Ryan Pridgen, one of the amazing local talents, is about to change all that. He has a group of 20 Panamanians he is training and preparing for a run of one act Spanish plays. Presented IN SPANISH April 28, 29, 30 and 31. This is a first for the BCP! Barbara shard, “we intend to keep the Spanish shows coming!”

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By now, I’m imagining running through my lines and acting and becoming full of anxiety. As if I was even going to THINK about putting myself on stage! I wondered how these actors and actresses remember their lines. Hmmm… I suppose I will ask Barbara. This is what she told me, “Our performers range in age from 11 to 85 and beyond.” “Actors usually have 3-4 weeks of rehearsal to be “off book”- meaning working without a script. They get there by running lines alone or with their fellow actors. After the first month, we begin each rehearsal by running the lines of the whole play. Repetition is the only way to get lines down. During later rehearsals, we have a line coach who sits with the script in the audience, during rehearsals, ready to cue actors who need a line. Eventually, we fly without support. Actors are expected to support each other during dress rehearsal and shows.” And of course, for those of us thinking about possibly doing some acting, Barbara told me “Actors do not have to have any prior experience onstage to audition for a show”!

4a 4bMy next thought was about costumes. Boquete is a small town and where the heck do the costumes come from? So Barbara let me know “We have a prop and costume closet which we pull from for every show. Charlotte Lintz modifies, creates and gathers costumes for each show. Erin Ross begs, borrows and makes any props we need. Scene furniture is either created from scratch or re-purposed from furniture we have used in other shows. Dave Thomas is our master builder.”

So, I began to think, well the stage may not be for me if I plan to live past the anxiety that it produces for me, what else can I be involved in? I think I can paint and I am amazing at decorations! So I asked Barbara if there is a regular crew or can anyone come in and do 5 the behind the scene stuff? This is what I found out: “Jakki Champ is our stage manager extraordinaire! She runs the backstage area for all of our shows. Harry Halbert is our light man. Nick Garey does lights and sound. Dave Thomas builds the sets. We are lucky to have a very hard working and dependable crew to support us onstage. That said, we love to welcome anyone interested to work with us back stage during any shows”.

So now I’m curious, I asked Barbara what is the next play they are working on and what is coming up after that? Here is her response, “The Play That Goes Wrong auditioned Monday, February 15 and Tuesday February 16 1-4 PM in the theater. This play will be performed on April 21, 22, 23 and 24 at the BCP.”

“Tony and Tina’s Wedding, an interactive musical/play will audition mid-July for a mid-September opening”.

Barbara also informed me that performances for all shows are advertised on local websites, news media and on posters and banners around town. Mailboxes etc. sells tickets before each show. During the four weeks before a show, tickets are also sold outside the theater at the Tuesday Market.

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Now my thoughts turned to Barbara and why she would spend so much time on this “volunteer” collaboration? I spoke to her about her dreams and desires for BCP and what gives her such joy to do this and what is the most exciting thing she has seen? Here is what she told me: “I love using theater to build collaboration and unity within a group of people. At the time of the performance, a cast of actors has grown into a finely tuned machine, all working together, off each other. They are supporting each other, seeing, listening and paying attention to each other and reacting to and from each other. For me, it is a wonderful challenge to create that moving, living, feeling machine. In the time I have been an artistic director, we have rebuilt the stage and made plans to enlarge the green room back stage. Our Hex Room is now Cafe Villa, so we have food, drinks and free Wifi on the property. The most exciting thing that has changed since I have come on board is that for the first time in our 10 year history, we will have a Spanish play with Panamanian actors performing on our stage. Ryan Pridgen, actor and director, has overseen this project which will be performed at the end of April!”

We here at Casa de Montaña Bed & Breakfast have been privileged to attend many of the theater plays and we continue to get a laugh or two, enjoy a Christmas special and watch some entertaining venues with guests who stay with us. If you are planning a trip down and staying with us, drop us an email to see if there is a play going on during your stay. What other place in Panama can you go to see a live play other than Boquete Panama and the BCP theater group!? You can also check their website for events and history at: http://bcpeventscenter.org/

 

 

 

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