Group to bring Yasmina Reza’s “Art” to Jasper this month
Purchase tickets through Cherokee Theater Company at cherokeetheatre.tix.com.
The Gaslight Players is a newly-formed theater troupe whose members have grown up in local theater. This July they wrapped up a sell-out run of “Smoke on the Mountain” in Canton, and are now gearing up for a production of “Art” at The Conservancy in Jasper. Here, founding member Eric Reinhardt talks about the group, their vision, and plans for the future.
Congratulations on selling out all three weekends for your first production, "Smoke on the Mountain" at Canton Theater, where you partnered with Cherokee Theater Company and the City of Canton. After the dust has settled, what do you think led to such a successful first run?
"Smoke on the Mountain" is a very popular musical. It's a show that resonates with many people in our region because of the nostalgia it invokes through the music and themes. I think the production was also successful because our cast, who became family on and off stage, understood every aspect of the play. It was important to us to be a family of travelling musicians and singers. That's what we presented on stage. I believe our sincerity and commitment to honoring the message of the playwrights, as well as the full support of patrons and volunteers of the CTC, contributed to success of the production.
What is the vision and mission of the Gaslight Players?
Our mission is to bring quality theatre, with a concentration in the work of the actors’ studio, to the local area, and to honor the work of playwrights - For now.
What led to the founding of the troupe?
We've been a troupe for several years now. Some of us have been working on stage together for decades. We're friends and family who have found a common bond that has arisen organically through our participation in the medium of performance art and our mutual appreciation for each other as performers. The company changes, some of us leave and come back, some of us are just now being integrated into the body of actors.
What are some of the biggest strengths you have as a troupe? What are you bringing to local theater?
Everyone in the company gives his or her all in every project and performance. In every play we stage, each of us puts the necessary work into making the show successful, to the best of our ability. There's an established comradery in which we each trust the others in the company to do just that.
Your core group of actors have been in dozens of local productions with other theater companies, schools and organizations. Now, with your own company, you will have more freedom to choose which productions you put on. What types of plays are you all interested in pursuing?
I'm sure we'll be taking risks. That's kind of what we're about. Testing the waters, trying out more ambitious pieces, getting a feel of how far down the rabbit hole our participating audiences are willing to go with us. We're committed to serving the community, finding others who are looking to push the envelope. We have a great deal of confidence in our community, in the network of residents in the local area who have the capacity for challenging and thought-provoking theatre.
As a theater troupe without a theater of your own you will need to work with other groups, organizations, and individuals to find space to put on shows. You are a Jasper-based group of actors, but do you have more plans to work outside of the county or will you stay mostly in Pickens County?
For our last three productions ("The Foreigner," "Greater Tuna," "Smoke on the Mountain"), we've had the fortune and privilege to work in cooperation with the Cherokee Theatre Company, a lovely group of people who have been producing great plays for over three decades now. Those shows were performed at Canton Theatre and we couldn't have done it without the support and promotion given to us by the CTC. As of yet, we do not have a home theatre venue in the Jasper area.
Your next production is Yazmina Reza’s “Art,” a three-person cast including yourself, Keith Gallagan, and Andy Kippenhan at The Conservancy in Jasper. Why did you all select this for your second play and what can theatergoers expect from the show? What is The Conservancy for people who may not know?
We were handed the script by a friend and supporter, Bob Seguin, who was up until recently, manager of the Canton Theatre during our presentations there. We fell in love with the writing, the crafty and clever nature of the structure and characters. And it's very funny. It's seen something like 600 runs, on and off Broadway and around the world in several languages. We thought it fit well with the kind of theatre we wanted to begin presenting.
The Conservancy is home to the Atlantic Coast Conservancy, whose founder, Robert Keller, wanted to use the space, in addition to hosting ACC guest lecturers, meet-and-greets and private events, as a venue for theatre. We're grateful for the opportunity to perform 'Art' in this stunning new place.
What’s on the horizon? Do you have other projects in motion after “Art?”
Absolutely. We have dates set for the productions with the CTC at Canton over the next six months, as well as reader's theatre pieces we'll be presenting in locations yet to be determined. As for now we'll be keeping news and updates posted on our Facebook page, Gaslight Players.
Buy tickets @ Cherokee Theater Company at cherokeetheatre.tix.com