I am an amateur — sometimes professional — thespian. I don’t say that looking for praise to be lauded on me, though in lieu of flowers feel free to send cash if you are so moved. I mention it because I am going to be talking about a production I am involved with at the moment.
I am in a production of The Birds in Walhalla at the Civic Auditorium through this weekend, and then the final two weekends of October at the Abbeville Opera House — which by the way, whether it is a production I am in or not, this is a venue you must see a show in as it’s literally like stepping back in time.
Yes, you have either seen or heard of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which is based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier, and while the film is fantastic, it only shows what happened up to the point of the descending of nature to attack man.
What happened after? That’s where the play comes in, and my point, believe it or not.
Usually the characters I play have some side of them that allows me to bring something humorous to the table. It just makes me comfortable to make people laugh and I have never missed an opportunity on stage to capitalize on those moments.
But this guy, Nat, well, he has some real issues and from the moment the play kicks off until the moment it ends, he is on a frazzled, razor’s edge, teetering on violence and rage at all times. This has not been easy, though with some of the difficulties I have been experiencing in my life as of late it’s not difficult to find something to channel.
But, if the truth be known, none of the characters in The Birds have any redeeming qualities and it makes you wonder what the world would be like if these three were indeed the last people on Earth.
Carl Gingola (Tierney), Sybil Todd (Diane) and Natalie Hill (Julia) don’t have an easier job of playing their roles either but do an absolutely fantastic job, by the way. We have discussed at length the difficulty we experienced in being able to bring these paper people to life.
Even now, after weeks of rehearsals and read-throughs, we are still trying to figure out who and what these characters are and we have a weekend of shows under our belts.
I suppose I am saying all of this to get around to this: This has been one of the best productions I have ever been involved with, but it is also the one play that has taken the most out of me. I find after two hours on stage in such a dark place it’s hard to let it go, especially after weeks of working at it.
Nat is not a complicated man, which makes it easier, but the difficulty comes in when you take into account his personal issues, which, to say the least, appear to be sinister in some way.
It’s a great production to get into the Halloween spirit, and even if I weren’t in it I would recommend you see it, especially if you have never been a fan of theater. This is the type of production you don’t normally see performed on stages throughout the upstate of South Carolina and could be the type of production that would bring you out to the theater more often.
After getting this far, I’m not sure I actually made a point, so I will try to find one. Ah! There it is.
This has to be the creepiest show I have ever been involved with, which is a good thing. The idea was to put on a show for Halloween that may actually provoke some frightening moments and director Jimmy O. Burdette has certainly done that.
But I think for me, more than anything else, I just want you to know, even in this area, there are some productions out there that are off the beaten path and even if you tried theater before, you might have the wrong idea.
We are stretching on the stage to bring something different. You should stretch your own legs and come out.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.