Gettysburg Stage, the regional theatre company based in Gettysburg, has decided to cancel its planned May production of the play "The Women of Lockerbie."
"It was a tough choice for the board to make in cancelling the show," says the company's board president, Jim Krut. "While the play itself is certainly contemporary and relevant, several unplanned events added difficulty upon difficulty."
Actor and director availability issues were key to the decision. Family illness brought a change in directors, while two nights of auditions did not yield enough actors for the roles at this time.
"We draw actors and audiences from York, Chambersburg, Harrisburg and Frederick, Maryland," says Krut. "Because many actors in this region also perform with other theatrical companies, their rehearsal and production schedules at times coincide with those of Gettysburg Stage. This means a conflict in schedules at times keeps some talented actors from being available for our productions."
He notes that because Gettysburg Stage is an ensemble company, some actors may believe that auditions are closed or the shows are pre-cast. While there is merit in pre-casting many of the roles, some ensembles do not encourage others to audition.
"That hasn't been the case with Gettysburg Stage," he adds. "One of our goals is to encourage wider participation in live theatre. We give seasoned and untried actors and directors alike a chance to grow in their skills, working with other local talents. It's been wonderful to see some of them blossom. With our choice of challenging and thought-provoking plays, the actors and directors also are challenged in new roles and new viewpoints."
Gettysburg Stage's season typically runs from September through May. In March the company offered two plays in one evening, "Doubt: A Parable" and "Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You."
With two simultaneous rehearsal schedules, there were four actors in one play and six in another. "While it all worked and we had some great audiences, we may have over-extended ourselves," adds Krut.
Although the company is not ruling out a future performance of "The Women of Lockerbie," a story based on the Scottish town where a terrorist-bombed airliner exploded in 1988, most of the focus will now shift to the next season starting in September 2009.
For updates on future productions, or to become involved with Gettysburg Stage, the website is www.gettysburgstage.org.