Huntington Playhouse Stories: In the Darkness

Mary Kahelin follows the script of "Proof" in the tech booth at Clague Playhouse. Photo by Patrick Meehan

Mary Kahelin dims the lights after Act 1, then slowly fades the sound of the siren as the darkness sets. Unseen in the tech booth at the Clague Playhouse, she listens for the cue that the actors performing the play "Proof" are ready to proceed. The stage manager, in a distant part of the theater, lets her know through a headset that the actors are ready. The theater brightens, this time looking like morning sunlight rather than the late evening illumination from the first act.

Mary now follows along in the script because her cues will come from the actors' dialogue rather than the stage manager. Her clothing is dark and the color melts into the walls of the room behind the window where she sits. The only illumination is from the computer screens and a pair of tiny flexible desk lights that shine on the pages she watches. The dialogue from the actors on stage comes through a tiny speaker mounted over the window that allows a view of the stage.

Mary will sit through several performances a week during the run of this show, just like she has done on over 300 productions in other theaters like the Huntington Playhouse and the Beck Center, where she had been named volunteer of the year. Props would be considered her specialty, having been on the prop crew for 199 shows at last count. She has also worked as sound, lights, spotlight operator, stage manager, deck crew, dresser and video operator.

Although she could probably keep busy enough working any theater she desires, she finds time for the Citizens for Bay Village Community Theater, volunteering her time and expertise on the play selection committee and is scheduled to work on our summer production which we are planning to produce at the Bay High School auditorium.

Mary had worked on 109 productions at the now closed Huntington Playhouse. Hopefully the theater will reopen and she can use her skills there once more. Until then she'll be behind the scenes at the Clague Playhouse until "Proof" ends its run in February. Then she's off to the Beck Center to work on "In The Heights" with the Baldwin Wallace ensemble.

Citizens For Bay Village Community Theater is working to form relationships with civic groups, not-for-profit organizations, government and businesses in Bay Village to provide a true community effort to keep community theater an active and vital part of our city. For more information, visit www.baytheater.org. Our next meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., in the Bay Village Library, 502 Cahoon Road.

Patrick M Meehan

Patrick is Vice President of Education for the newly formed Citizens for Bay Village Community Theater. An organization whose goal is to continue to provide Community Theater and Theater Education for the City of Bay Village.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:49 AM, 02.02.2016