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The Harlequins’ newest show ‘Apron Strings’ is a new challenge

“Apron Strings” is a play of six vignettes about motherhood. Playwright Michael McKeever has long been a favorite of Harlequins theatre, and this particular play afforded it the opportunity to take people involved with the theatre and, with the guidance of mentors Phillip W. Johnson and Marian Hancy, prepare them to direct.
Lori Demres
Jan 24, 2013

With six directors, one for each vignette, it took special effort to coordinate rehearsals, sets, actors, and other aspects of the overall production. Talk about too many cooks in the kitchen. “We all learned the “C” word very quickly,” said Cody Noon, one of the directors and theatre major at BGSU Firelands, referring to the word “compromise”.

Want to go?
WHAT: Apron Strings
WHEN: 8 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays, Jan. 25 & 26 and Feb. 1, 2, 8 & 9; 2 p.m. Sundays, Jan. 2 & Feb. 3
WHERE: Harlequins Theatre, 414 Wayne St, rear, Sandusky
COST: $10 per ticket
INFO: www.harlequinstheatre.com

Oddly enough there wasn’t much arguing about who would direct which portion. Director Ellie Stuck put her dedication into directing the short drama “Objects in the Rearview Mirror.” Katherine Gauthier, another of the directors, said, “‘Peter, Paula, Mom and Mary’ is lighthearted and the last one and I appreciate that challenge.”

As if directing weren’t enough of a learning experience, Stuck, Noon and fellow director Valerie Thames are also acting in others’ segments. “The most difficult thing is these people are your friends… so you’re their peer in one show then you take that hat off to become their director in another show,” said Stuck. Thames is more sensitive now to what goes into directing and said, “I have a better understanding of my past directors and how much work it is.”

The fifth director is Deb Presser who is directing “Knowing Best,” “it’s fun and we’re all learning a lot.” All seem to agree it’s much harder to give notes than to receive them as actors. When Stuck said that as a director you have to have a modicum of professionalism and responsibility and bring it to your own show, the others wholeheartedly agreed with her.

An interesting twist for Noon is that one of his actors, Donna Jean Evans, directed him when he was in Kid Kompany a few years ago and now he’s directing her. He said, “they’ve all been very mature and respectful and I’m proud of all my actors.”

The final director is this myself, and I concur with everything said. I would also like to add that balancing being their friend, acting with them and directing them is quite a challenge, not to mention having to interview them for this article and not muck up all their insights and intelligence about this experience, as well as recognizing which jokes and expressions were meant to be reported and which ones were meant to be kept among our directing team.