POSTED ON OCTOBER 17, 2012:
Tired, Old Monsters
Sapulpa company raises funds, dead
o imagine that Frankenstein's monster and his lovely, striped bride lived happily ever after. Where would they be today?
Sapulpa Community Theatre has an idea involving Dracula's Transylvanian castle having been transformed, and it will be on display this week and next as the troupe presents Monster Retirement Home, a show SCT is presenting as a fundraiser.
Karen Lee Maio, who works as the administrative theatre manager for SCT, talked about the upcoming show, offering that it has something for pretty much everyone in this show written by one of SCT's own, Donna F. Carter
"She spent a lot of time going to those kinds of movies as a kid," Maio said. "She got to thinking what would they be like and where would they be now that they're older. It's a farce, but not necessarily slapstick.
Carter's past works for SCT have been in the comedic vein, so SCT audiences won't be surprised by any stretch.
Besides the lumbering, reanimated icon, Monster Retirement Home has other classic monsters, and a couple of not-so-classic characters.
"There are 12 in the cast," Maio said. "Frankenstein and his bride, Dracula, Igor, there's a wolf-woman, there's DHS-kind of woman who comes to check out the home, and there's a hilarious lady that has them doing 'cane fu,' an exercise program with their canes."
Retired monsters or not, "cane fu" sounds pretty freaking hilarious.
As previously mentioned, the "DHS-kind of woman" shows up, bringing one of the narrative forces of the show with her, in that not only are the monsters dealing with being old, but there arises the question as to whether the woman is there to shut down the retirement home. And come on, if Igor and the Mad Scientist get put out of their current dwelling, it's not like anyone at Montereau will be taking them in.
So there's also a lovesick monster, there are the day-to-day operations issues that Dracula faces (he's the one who runs the joint), and all manner of things causing wackiness to ensue. Monster is sure to be a family-friendly fun time.
In addition to writing the show, Carter also serves in several capacities at SCT, not the least of which is donating her writing abilities.
"She is on our board of directors, and we've done two of her things before as fundraisers, primarily because there are no royalties involved," Maio said. Score one for pragmatism. "It's a fundraiser, and the script is free. She writes cute stuff, and we needed something to do at Halloween for our families."
So a match made in heaven. Or monster Xanadu. Or something.
As mentioned above, Carter -- like many community theater-ites -- wears more than one hat on most days.
"The last one of hers that we did was Too Many Husbands, and we've done other plays of hers," Maio said. "And actually, Donna is our costumer, as well, and she does a marvelous job. She checks thrift shops and puts things together, or she makes them. She's had fun doing this one. She has a theater background from college, and now she spends her life at the theater, as most of us do."
Although Monster Retirement Home is presented as a fundraiser, there are expenses involved in it, as well as in the day-to-day operations of SCT. While this show is designed as a fundraiser to help defray those costs over the course of the year, Monster isn't without production costs. However, everyone is chipping in.
"Being a community theater, it's all local volunteer actors and crew. They're all just working really hard to put on a good show," Maio said.
She also bemoaned the general state of all things theatrical in the face of the train wreck we think of as today's economy.
"With grant money cut across the nation, we're not able to subsidize every show anymore," she said. "Besides, with those kinds of funds, we're not allowed to use them for anything other than production costs, anyway."
And lower grant money isn't the only consequence of the current economic climate.
"Attendance is down in the entire area. Witness the opera and things like that that are giving two-fers," Maio said. "Community theaters have been hit harder by the economy. People are choosing to feed their families rather than go to the theater. But we're hopeful that we have something family-friendly, so we'll have a good audience."
So with no royalties needed, no paid actors or crew, all that's left to cover are utilities, and after that, SCT can get to work on specific projects for which some of the proceeds of Monster are earmarked.
"Everything left over will go back into the operating funds and for keeping up our building, which is 65 years old. We're sort of in a constant upkeep mode," Maio said. "We have several projects that need to be worked on around the theater -- like, we've got a leaky wall, things of that nature -- just general maintenance issues."
And while a big, fat audience would give a big, fat check, Maio and crew are realistic.
"We're hopeful that we can fix everything, but it's not likely," she said.
Still, she's upbeat about what is shaping up to be an entertaining evening.
"We have a semi-professional makeup artist, so the makeup is going to be very fun," she said. "The wolf-woman has facial hair, and she wins a visit to the local fancy spa, so she gets a kind of makeover. And they have some musical dance steps that they're going to be doing -- you can imagine Frankenstein clomping around in his big boots and causing quite a stir."
The Bride of Frankenstein always had at least some white in her hair, so it's not like we never imagined her in her old age.
SCT presents Monster Retirement Home October 19-21 and October 26-28. Shows are at 7:30pm, and Sunday matinees at 124 S. Waters St., Sapulpa, starting at 2pm. Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 students and are available by phone at 918-227-2169 or online at either sapulpacommunitytheatre.com or eventbrite.com.
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