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Backstage with the Actors and Crew at The Footlight Club

Shared purpose, professionalism, and love of the stage drive JP’s community theater.

Just days away from the premiere of “” there are no jitters among the cast and crew as they rehearsed their roles and set the stage for latest production.

Energy, enthusiasm, and collaborative effort motivate the multi-talented team to create a professional and seamless staging of David Bottrell’s & Jesse Jones’ drama at Jamaica Plain’s community theatre.

“I enjoy working towards a common goal,” stated JP resident and producer Kristin MacDougall, as she downed a Coors Light needed as a prop for “,” a tragic comedy filled with classless but sympathetic characters.  Like most of the other cast and crew at The Footlight Club, her day job is far removed from the lure of the stage.

Chris Nadeau, who works as the production’s stage manager, makes his living as a Spanish teacher.  The JP resident said that is “not just a theatre.  It’s a great community resource.”  He added that his work has enabled him to meet all sorts of people.  Nadeau is especially pleased, he said, to be part of ” because he “likes to work on dark stuff.”

A psychologist by day, Patrick Cook volunteers as the play’s set designer and carpenter.  The challenge of the current production for him was to create an appropriately impoverished backdrop that mirrors the drama’s backwoods Southern setting.  “It’s fun to get involved,”  he said.

Catherine Moniz, who works in the insurance industry, is “” make-up artist.  Moniz, who moved to JP just one year ago, also said that her involvement at has been a great way for her to meet people.  She stated that she has especially enjoyed her work on the play because she had to make some of the actors look older than they actually are, and also to make another character appear injured after a dramatic onstage scuffle.

“It’s easy to get lost in my job,” stated Scot Colford, one of the actors in “.”  Colford, who has not acted in 15 years, said that the experience has been “incredible therapy.” The JP resident, who works at the Boston Public Library’s as its Web service manager, said that he relishes his role as Junior in the play because he gets to make out, handle a gun, and have a fight scene.  “The cast is phenomenal and a joy to work with,” he added.

Lighting designer and chief electrician Nancy Brockway praised “high standards of professionalism.”  Brockway, who works in the field of public utilities, said that she thinks that there are poltergeists in the theatre.  “Suddenly, a circuit won’t work,” she explained.

Gillian Mackay-Smith, who plays Lucille, recently moved from Los Angeles to Jamaica Plain, and praised the local theatre scene. .  “There so much fringe theatre,” she noted, “and hundreds of small companies.  Everyone works so hard and is so welcoming,” she remarked about her experience at The Footlight.

Kristin Hughes, who works as an executive assistant at a non-profit, directed .”  She said that has a “younger vibe” than some other community theatres.  “A lot of the people working here live in the city and don’t have cars,” she noted.  It’s amazing how hard everyone works at something that’s a hobby,” she noted. 

“Many people have started their professional careers here,” said Troy Siegfreid, the production’s wig designer. “It’s a training ground for actors and others working on technical aspects.”  The JP resident of 12 years, who is employed by one of the area hospitals, has been involved at the community theatre for the past three years.  Siegfreid, who has worked on prior productions at , as well as the wardrobe supervisor at the Huntington Theatre and Emerson College, received a DASH (Distinguished Achievements and Special Honors) award last year.  Siegfreid noted that he has enjoyed his work on “” because of the “hair that’s too big and the over-the-top wigs.’ “We are working to create a statement in an artistic way,” he stated.  “The community comes together with purpose and skill.” 

At the conclusion of the hours-long rehearsal, there was no applause in the hot, empty theatre.  The sweaty actors and crew, who have been working on the  production of “” since April, changed in to their street clothes, and most prepared themselves for work the next day at their jobs.  The ephemeral pleasure of their eternal art premiered Friday when “” opened for its short run, and their efforts are rewarded by the gratifying approval of the play’s audience.

  (617-524-3200) is located at 7 Eliot Street.  “” opened this Friday, June 3 at 8 p.m. with additional performances on June 4, June 10, and June 11.  Tickets are $16-$21. 

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