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Thomsen Talk: February 2017

IMG_3937February is a short month; therefore, this will be a short Thomsen Talk.

As I write this, Tarzan ® is about to open to the public, and I really hope you will all make an opening in your schedule to see this. It’s epic.

When Director of Student Theatre Kelsey Celek and I met in early 2016 to discuss the direction of student theatre, we talked about what that meant with show selection. We talked about programming that would challenge the actors and the production team and could be relevant to the stories of our community that need to be told. From this discussion, Kelsey brought forward the idea of Tarzan ® and integrating sign language into all of the staging. We knew it would be challenging (and it was), but we knew we couldn’t “play it safe.”

One of my favorite days in the QCT year is “school preview day.” For the student shows, we invite schools to attend a performance during the day. For Tarzan, we had almost 1000 students on this day! There is a distinct energy in the Oakley-Lindsay Center as the students are lining up in the lobby, eager to walk into the auditorium. For many, it is their first live theatre experience, and I hope it will be an experience that will always remain with them. (Do you remember the first play you ever saw?)

IMG_4787 2I sat in the back row of the auditorium, seated behind a high school group, and was delighted to see the high school boys in front of me thoroughly invested in the story on stage. They laughed at the jokes and even applauded when SPOILER ALERT Jane and Tarzan kissed. Down in the orchestra seating was a group of people who were Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and when Aren Williams (the sole Deaf actor in the production) came out to take his bow, they stood up and cheered and applauded by waving their hands in the air. Yours truly started to tear up.

Theatre can be for everyone, and this production is a testament to that. I am so proud of the work of Kelsey Celek and Jane Meirose and the entire production team at Quincy Community Theatre for pushing the boundaries of what theatre can be and who can experience it.

(Okay, February’s not that short.)

Brandon Thomsen
Artistic Director


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