Every director has a first outing, fraught with backstage discoveries and realizations. All manner of things invisible to the actor's eye come into full view in the director's line of sight.
Beka Buster is facing that right this very minute, as she directs Owasso Community Theatre's production of Oliver Twist.
"It's weird to be on this side of it, because I've always been on the actor side," Buster said. "When you're the director, it's like you're the parent of the whole thing. I have to be the leader of all this. But I like it."
And that's probably a good thing, since she's heading a cast of 20. While she never said the director's chair was an easy one to sit in, she certainly seems comfortable, due in no small part to her cast and crew.
"The hardest thing was the auditions," Buster said. "We had an amazing turnout. I think the hardest thing for me at that point was going, 'I want you as that character, but I have to reject you for it.'"
Once that hard part was behind her, the crew got down to the business of helping Buster get the show on its feet.
"I've had an amazing production crew, and they've been right there with me, supporting. And anything I've asked for, they've been able to do for me," she said.
But that doesn't mean her stomach is butterfly-free.
"The most nervous I am is that this is my first show directing, and just watching it go from auditions to seeing it onstage. It's like your baby," Buster said. "I'm just nervous to see it grow up."
One issue facing Buster and her cast and crew is the nomadic nature of this particular troupe. Kay Neldon serves as president of the group's board and said it's a juggling act.
"Actually, it's very complicated," she said, and the tone of her voice said more than her actual words did. "We don't have our own theater, so we go from place to place."
This particular show will be on a stage at Stone Canyon Elementary School, where many of the group's shows run, though the company is able to use Owasso High School's Performing Arts Center.
"Stone Canyon has been very cooperative with us," Neldon said.
"But we have a long relationship with the PAC at the high school. It's kind of an in-kind donation. We have set pieces that are stored there that the high school is allowed to use, and then we get to have one show a year on their main stage."
And while the organization is grateful to have multiple venues to host its shows, Buster admitted to a few challenges, nonetheless.
"For the size of this production, it's a small stage, so we fill the stage, definitely," Buster said.
Owasso Community Theatre brings Oliver Twist to the stage at Stone Canyon Elementary School for shows April 11-13. Curtain is at 7pm all three nights, with a 2pm matinee on Saturday, as well. Tickets are available at the door -- $10 for general admission, with discounts for students and seniors. Stone Canyon is located at 7305 N. 177th E. Ave. in Owasso.
Gryphon Trio, presented by Chamber Music Tulsa
Everyone has heard a string quartet, right? Well, this is kind of along the same lines, only there's a piano, and it's a trio. Still, Gryphon Trio pianist Jamie Parker said that both musical forms come from the same roots.
"Franz Josef Haydn is sort of the father of the piano trio, and he also sort of started the idea of chamber music," he said. "He wrote stacks of piano trios and stacks of string quartets."
Regardless of the beginnings of piano trios, Parker prefers them, but not just because he doesn't have very much to do in a string quartet.
"With the piano, there is ultimately a bigger sonority," he said. "And the contrast in instrumental color is the big thing. I love string quartets, but it's all strings. When you start playing a piano really loud, you open up some different colors."
Chamber Music Tulsa presents Gryphon Trio and all its colors in two shows. There's what the group is calling a salon concert at 7pm in the Tulsa PAC's Kathleen Westby Pavilion on Saturday, April 13, and then the next day at 3pm in the John H. Williams Theater, and tickets are available online at tulsapac.com, by phone at 918-596-7111, or in person at the box office. There will be a pre-concert lecture on Sunday, starting at 2:15pm.
Saving Grace, presented by Sapulpa Community Theatre
The Grace that needs saving is a 20-something virgin living square in the sexual crosshairs of her 40-ish boss in a Three's Company world of misunderstandings and mistaken identities.
Naturally, it's a comedy.
"Grace is one of these little air-headed type of girls. It's one of those comedies of errors," director Todd Campbell said, and he would know.
"This is the second time I've directed it," he said. "It was about four years ago in Drumright at the Boomtown Theater. I've been trying to get them to do it in Sapulpa since then."
Campbell said that with a new cast and a new venue, the show is hardly a copy of its previous incarnation.
"It has turned out to be a completely different show," he said, although he thought about keeping some things. "I tried using some of the same blocking, but the spaces are quite different. And I've added some things that I didn't think of when I did it in Drumright."
The cast of five is led by Kaylan Hughes and Matt Stenquist, with Robert Young, Shirley Tinkler, and Bob Tapisan rounding out the group. While four have appeared on stage in and around town with varying degrees of frequency, Campbell has a theatrical near-virgin on his hands in Stenquist.
"This is Matt's first time onstage other than being an extra in the chorus in one show in high school," Campbell said. "And he's done a couple of dramas for his church."
Saving Grace and its cast of newbies and old hands opens Friday, April 12, and runs through April 21. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students) and are available in person at the theatre, located in Sapulpa at 124 S. Water St., by phone at 918-227-2169, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Send all comments and feedback regarding Arts Experienced to email@example.com.
Share this article: