November 25, 2002
|Actor to the Rescue in Wisconsin|
A real "show-must-go-on" scenario played out when an Equity actor stepped in to perform in a community theatre production in the small town of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
MA'S CASE: ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE, a comedy-whodunit by Wisconsin playwright Carol Lyons, was winding up its run in the historic Door County resort community. The show was being performed by members of the StageDoor Theatre company, a talented community group under the artistic direction of Lyons and Karen Raymore. The venue, the Third Avenue Playhouse, was converted from a former movie house for live performances three years ago. The Door Peninsula, which is located near Green Bay, has been named one of the country's top 100 small arts communities and enjoys a reputation for excellent professional and amateur theatre.
According to Ms. Lyons, a fall through a barn roof left Cy Turnbladh, a local potter, unable to continue in the role of Shakespearean actor Bartholomew Oldstair-Creaque. In a panic, Lyons turned to Doug Mancheski, a popular Wisconsin-based professional actor who is a friend of Lyons and several cast members.
Mr. Mancheski, a graduate of NYU's MFA professional actor training program, returned to his home state in 1997 to work with American Folklore Theatre, also in Door County. He has worked in many of AFT's popular original musicals, including GUYS ON ICE, LUMBERJACKS IN LOVE and THE BACHELORS. He has also acted in Wisconsin with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, Door Shakespeare and the Pepin Players.
Responding to the emergency, "Equity quickly worked out a contract for Mr. Mancheski allowing him to perform," said Central Regional Director, Kathryn V. Lamkey.
With about two hours of rehearsal, Mancheski stepped in for the final weekend, thus keeping the theatre company from having to cancel three performances. Audiences were made aware of the situation just before curtain and welcomed the actor warmly.
"All I could think of was Christopher Durang's "The Actor's Nightmare," recalled Doug, "and many nightmares myself about walking onto a stage and having no clue what to say. Unlike my nightmares, though, I had a script in hand and could always refer to it. This is the truth: I have a line where I'm referring to another character (an actor) and make the comment, 'the man is lost without a script.' Keep in mind I said this line with a script in my hand. The audience roared. All in all, I had a great time. It made me think that sometimes the first time you read, act or perform a script, sometimes that's the best. I truly wonder if I could have been funnier with three weeks rehearsal. I agree, less is more."
"Doug was so generous and so darned swell that it feels almost unseemly to say his name out loud," Lyons said. "He saved our bacon and was his usual low-key and delightful self while doing it. If he ever needs a kidney he knows where to find me."
Special thanks to Carol Lyons for her assistance on this story