Friday, March 27, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Morgan Witham

Whether you’re a fisherman, you’ve been part of any performing arts on the island, or both – you probably know Morgan Witham. Most recently at the Opera House, you might have seen the “Our Own” production of Peter Matthiessen’s Men’s Lives in November that Morgan directed or your kids might have listened to her bang up job as a panelist during OHA’s Grapes of Wrath educational symposia just this week.

But even with as active a community member as Morgan, there are always more mysteries to unfold. After all, can you really say, off the top of your head, you know which cartoon character with whom Morgan thinks she has the most in common? After reading this, you’ll be able to answer that with a resounding yes!

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up on the island, then spent my last couple of years of high school in Limestone, where I got a chance to appreciate life up in the County.

2. How would your elementary school classmates remember you?

I was the irritating kid who raised her hand all the time and had done the reading- it probably looked like I really needed to go to the bathroom, but I was just that antsy to answer the question. Or more to the point, to answer ALL the questions. I thought school was an unending episode of Jeopardy… and I might have been one of the few under that illusion.

3. Name four fictional characters with whom you’d be okay being stuck in an elevator. Why them?

Silent Bob from the Kevin Smith movies… there’s much to be said for people who don’t say anything using the mouth part of their faces. His quiet presence wouldn’t add to any incipient claustrophobia. Harry Dresden, from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files- so we’d have someone personable to blame for the elevator’s failure… except it would probably also mean that there were demons trying to attack us. Meh- might as well have an adventure. In which case, next I would add Holden Caulfield, as the sacrificial chump that gets eaten first, buying us time/distraction, and MacGyver to actually get us out of the elevator. Not exactly My Dinner with Andre, but it works for me.

4. If you were a cartoon character, what cartoon character would you be?

Calvin. See above elevator scenario, which is inked in color. And the demons look AWESOME. And they ate Holden Caulfield… who is not unlike Calvin, which means- did I just subconsciously feed the more irritating parts of myself to demons in a hypothetical elevator scenario?

5. When did you first fall in love with theater?

I was at Cold Comfort Theater Camp at Maine Maritime, and it was the lighting cue to cue for that summer’s production of Bye, Bye, Birdie! All of the campers had been shuffled into the theater to watch the tech happen from the audience. Looking back I bet it was a good dodge for the counselors catch a break from us. Our job was to shut up and be still while other people worked. It was tedious, and painstaking, but as they made all of these slight but critical cue changes, quietly, in the dark- I thought “this is amazing.” There was no pay off in excitement or applause, there was just the methodical process of improving the details, the satisfaction of seeing something being refined, of the rough bits being smoothed out. It was formative- having a chance to be in a space that was so focused, to witness what good flow sounds like, looks like, when a cast and crew just buckle down and make their way, as gracefully as possible, through the fiddly things. It’s when I fell in love with the work of theater.

Morgan will soon be returning to the Opera House stage! Come down and see her, visiting artist Per Janson and other local community members in the “Our Own” production of Eugene O’Neill’s Anna Christie, directed by OHA Board Member Peter Richards. The staged play reading will be offered on Wednesday, April 22 and Thursday, April 23 at 7p.m.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday

driveway1Perry Hunter (left) & Paul Fishman (right), OHA’s earliest volunteers working on the driveway in 2003. 
The Opera House will be closed from today until the evening of Friday, April 10 as we race toward this summer’s grand reveal of the new lobby and scene shop – but we’re still working away down in the front office, so come down and say hi. Tickets for the summer season are now on sale – start your planning!