Summer Circle Theatre ends final season on temporary stage
A hint of rain was in the air as the actors took the stage, giving the audience a taste of one of the difficulties that comes with having a temporary stage.
The Summer Circle Theatre’s new permanent stage is currently under construction in the courtyard between the Kresge Art Center and the Auditorium and is expected to be completed by August 15.
Rob Roznowski, associate professor in the Department of Theatre, said a permanent stage has been something the department has talked about for a while, but the idea didn’t come to fruition until a donor stepped up and made a contribution. After that, everything happened quickly, he said.
“The hardest part is building infrastructure every year — stage, electricity. The best part about this is ... not having to build a theater every time,” Roznowski said.
The new stage will be handicap accessible, something that has been a problem for audience members in the past. It will also have electricity built into the venue.
“What’s so funny about outdoor theatre is it’s ... bad in terms of weather. Shows have been cancelled because of rain,” Roznowski said.
Kevin Durkin, the construction representative of the Kresge courtyard renovation, said weather has been the only hindrance crews have faced and the renovation is on schedule.
Durkin said crews are currently putting conduits for electricity in the ground and are pouring concrete for the stage and the walls around it.
Six to 10 people are working on the renovation each day, he said.
Cast member Anna Morreale said while she won’t be involved next season, the permanent stage is a huge step forward for the company. The potential for more shows for the community is exciting and the new stage will make that idea possible, she said.
Roznowski said the variety of shows and being able to perform something for everyone is what makes a season successful. To him, support from audience members is the greatest thing in the world.
An example of such support was during the weekend of June 20 — the electricity went out during a performance and instead of calling the show off, cast members were surprised to see audience members pulling out cellphones and using flashlight applications to give light.
Roznowski said someone even drove their car onto the grass to illuminate the stage with their headlights.
Morreale performed in two productions this season, “What I Did Last Summer” and “The Summer Circle.”
Morreale said the Summer Circle Theatre is a good opportunity for actors to gain experience because it’s a real company with a fast-paced atmosphere. Many members of the company work on multiple shows either as cast or stage crew. As soon as a show is finished, they must all move on to the next one.
She said the work and dedication from the entire company and the audience is what gives it a community feel, but the end of the season is a sad time.
“It went really fast. We worked so hard for two months and in just that time it’s over,” she said.