Commonwealth Journal

Columns

November 27, 2013

Theatre program should remain a part of SCC

A word of advice to Somerset Community College: It’s tough running a college. I get that. There are crucial budget decisions that have to be made, and they aren’t always easy or fun. The arts are always a pretty easy scapegoat.
Whatever you do, leave the SCC Theatre program alone. Down the road, should such a dilemma arise, don’t give in. Don’t even think about giving the program the axe.
Because doing so would hurt the entire community much more than any good it would do for the school’s bottom line.
I’ll admit, I’m a little bit biased — I just wrapped up an SCC Community Theatre production. This past weekend, I acted in “Spoon River Anthology,” based on the work of Edgar Lee Masters — a collection of poems about life around the turn of the century (19th to 20th, not Y2K) in a rural Illinois community.
There are more than 200 characters, each of whom has died and gets to tell their story in the form of a poem, one that easily becomes a monologue translatable to the stage. 
SCC Theatre Program Director Steve Cleberg deftly wove together the interconnecting personal accounts to create set of cohesive stories that the audience could follow along. A creative use of music was also employed, with easily identifiable folk favorites, thanks to the show’s talented participants as well as local singer-songwriter duo Joe LaMay and Sherri Reese.
We performed for the public on Friday and Saturday. I know Friday was a sell-out; Saturday was close. It’s encouraging to know that the Pulaski Community knows about the gem they have in the SCC Theatre Program.
Because really, where else are you going to see legitimate stage drama (and comedy, of course) around here? Once a season — perhaps twice, if we’re lucky — the Lake Cumberland Performing Arts brings a traveling show to The Center for Rural Development. And it’s almost always good stuff, but so few and far-between. We have the Lake Cumberland Children’s Theatre, which is a wonderful avenue into the arts for younger people, and maybe some church-based groups who act. Anything more, and you’re going to have to drive at least to Danville, for that town’s consistently top-notch Pioneer Playhouse.

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