In this same space a few months back I reviewed a production of the Greek tragedy “Antigone” and talked about the exciting amateur theatre happening in Beverly Massachusetts at the Dane Street Church. The group is The Sea Change Theatre Company and at the helm is the talented and enthusiastic Artistic Director, Jason Schaum and his wife, Associate Artistic Director, Staci Skile Schaum. It seems the company is always up for a challenge as they announce their line up for the next (third) season, they are taking on no less daunting tales than the likes of Hamlet and for the second time, a play written by a playwright who won the secon annual playwrighting contest held by the company.
Their current production: “In The Territories” is by Mark Jabaut, the first winner of the Annual Playwrighting contest, and it’s a rare genre for a stage production, a western comedy set in “the wilds of the Colorado and New Mexico territories”. This show in particular is the very definition of an amateur production in that this is Mark’s first play ever produced. The actors do a wonderful job fleshing out the roles Mark has written despite having limited acting experience themselves. The guiding light that holds it all together though is Jason Schaum, who brings his energy and theatrical sensibilities to the play, adding nice touches along the way (just as he did in Antigone) and adding nuance and depth to these shows.
But it’s not just the Schaums bringing these plays to life. The entire production crew behind the scenes is as much the story of Sea Change as the actors and the material. In the great tradition of amateur stage production they make the most out of what they have to work with. In this case the stage is not huge but much credit has to go to set designer, Paige Hall. While Paige is still a student intern at Montserrat College of Art, she and the staff have managed to design and build a beautiful set that feels as big as the Colorado Rockies, the setting for this play. The fact that it is possibly the biggest landscape in America could have been a distraction in this relatively small space, but it never detracts from the story. It only enhances the charm of this production. Costume design is by Katie Kenna and is spot on, bringing a sense of rugged realism to the characters.
Check out this fun evening of western action from the talented, hard-working folks at Sea Change Theatre Company. For more info, go to: seachangetheatre.com
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