In the small, close-knit thespian world, there is a kindred madness driving against the mundane to light, set and play for the masses regardless how minuscule the mass.
The Springs Theatre Company of Pagosa Springs is no exception. Premiering in 2005 with their first show, Jack Nearys First Night, Rick and DAnn Artis introduced dinner theater to the small community. The 2010 season opened last week with a Rick Artis original, A Wynne-Win For All.
Heading into July, the company was scheduled to show Diner Daze until casting issues hooked the production into the wings. Artis, as president of the Springs Theatre Company and desperate to host a summer performance, wrote, cast, rehearsed and premiered A Wynne-Win For All featuring Bayfield native Adel Vaughn leading a cast that includes Artis, Elizabeth Claire Baldwin, and Alexis Artis. DAnn Artis directs.
Vaughn, a soon-to-be veteran of the Durango stage and future student at the University of Northern Colorado, plays Wynne Wisteria Walters, an aspiring actress who consequently pulls her family into a deranged review of Hollywoods Golden Age. Her lost and frustrated father, portrayed by Rick Artis, personifies the sentiments of all high school parents, though primarily those of actors and schizophrenics.
Described primarily as an excuse to showcase Vaughns talents, A Wynne-Win For All does little to win over the audience. Despite the many and I do mean many re-enactments of beloved Hollywood films, the story itself doesnt possess enough substance for even a weekly intermission serial. A one-dimensional and anti-climatic plot is supported in whole by the lengthy re-enactments and the occasional bursting into song and dance. Unfortunately, Vaughn, an actor/singer with deep veins of unrefined talent, never has the chance to discover and develop the character to her full potential until the final act.
DAnn Artis directorial debut is off-kilter from the curtain rise. Lengthy pauses between lapses in action are followed by line recitation reminiscent of teleprompter reading. Granted, the hour-and-a-half production was developed and put on stage in just over a month hardly enough time to flesh out a script, much less produce an entire show. The time constraints additionally affected the format and cancelled the usual dinner theater portion of the play.
Its fair to judge that The Springs Theatre Companys production was born under an ill star. Bad timing, a lack of volunteer crew support and a poor turnout for the first night fated the first production of the season to fail.
Despite its many flaws, however, it is encouraging to see the undeniable love for the theater because that is the sole reason A Wynne-Win For All made it to the stage. In our attention-deficit society in which many would see the theater dead, it is refreshing to witness a stance against 3-D and Internet domination especially in an environment not known for theater.
Margaret Hedderman is a freelance writer living in New Mexico. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.