Memories of FACT come flooding back
To the editor:
Last month, Vicki Tillis came to review Fairfield Area Community Theatre’s 25th Anniversary Revue. She told me this story: “As I cleaned my flooded basement, I came across my daughter’s sack of props that she used in FACT’s production of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.’ There was a milk jug painted blue with gold trim, there were golden wrist bands, there an assortment of stuff used throughout that show. And I remembered her in that show and how proud I was of her and of the production. The bag of props was ruined because of the flood, but the memories remain true.”
The same happened at FACT’s show. I was flooded with memories of so many other FACT productions. But in this case, nothing was ruined, and the songs and the performers brought back so many memories.
The talented cast remained on stage and sang standing in formations or sitting at tables. My friend, Jim Edgeton directed the beautifully sounding orchestra. The curtains were all lifted; the light bars were lowered. The simplicity of it all was perfect. It was not a show with a plot, but it clearly told the story of FACT ‘s highlights and triumphs of the past twenty five years.
And through medleys, solos, duets, and triosthe chorus paid tribute to these shows. They sang with gusto, with poignancy. It was special to see many on stage reprising roles that they had previously performed or to sing in shows in which they were involved. The chorus filled the space with musical emotion reflecting the mood of the song.
Though the performers were formally dressed in black and white, the stage was dressed in various props from various shows: the original train used in the first “Music Man” production in 1989, Bloody Mary’s rack of sale items from “South Pacific,” a painted panel from “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (which also performed at the Iowa State Fair), the door used for “On the Street Where You Live” from “My Fair Lady,” and many more.
The stage was also dressed with revolving set of costumes from shows: there was Ron Prill’s monk robe, Jan Hunerdosse’s nun costume, and there was my daughter, Emily’s “Sound of Music” sailor outfit, and there were chorus costumes from a number of shows.
This show was both a trip down memory lane and a tribute to all of the adults and children who have made FACT successful. Though it lay in dormancy prior to 1989, it was revived for Fairfield’s sesquicentennial and is now “alive and well and living in Fairfield.” It is a tribute to those whose countless hours of dedication and commitment have made the arts come alive for our community.
Community theatre is what is real and what is important for us. FACT has given the community new works like “Monky Business” and “Belles.” It has given us Iowa premieres like “Waiting for Oprah” and “Soup duJour.” It has given us classics like “The King and I,” “Oklahoma,” and “The Fantasticks.”
It has given us dramas and comedies like “Steel Magnolias,” “The Odd Couple,” “On Golden Pond,” and “The Crazy Quilt Club.”
It has given us musicals and plays for twenty five years . . . and it will continue to entertain our community for years and years to come. Our community should be proud of the contributions of so many to entertain us for the past twenty five years. This was my last show to direct for FACT; I am grateful to them for allowing me to direct shows for the past 25 years. I can’t wait to see what they do next!
– Scott Slechta, Fairfield