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From Emma – Thanks, Tamaqua!

August 5, 2015

The community-based Dear Tamaqua project came to its epic finale last night, with fireworks, chiming bells, and Jp and Anna rocking out with Tamaqua’s mayor. We even had a train participate in festivities!

Train coming through!

Train coming through!

(No joke – we had been trying for months to try and figure out if there would be a train running during the performance, which they were not allowed to tell us for security reasons, and right before the finale, a slow train chugged through town. Kids put pennies on the rail, and everyone waved to the conductor, and it couldn’t have been timed more perfectly if we’d tried!)

Setup efforts included traipsing through the woods to place lighting units, neighbors decorating their front porches as parade “floats,” graffiti art summarizing the varying attitudes of Tamaqua locals on their hometown, and massive paths of white cloth guiding the audience.

It was also a rare opportunity for Touchstone personnel; usually, we got a year or two (or more) in between large-scale, outdoor, community-based productions, and to have two in the same year meant that we were in much better practice for what a performance like this takes. In performing outdoor work (let alone large-scale outdoor work, let alone traveling large-scale outdoor work), there is so much that depends on proper prep getting done (large crews available at the right time, reminders for the hundreds of people involved to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated, anticipating the sound and light in a space, putting together remarkable new set pieces for the first time, and more). Major props to Mr. Jp as the production’s director/designer/co-conceiver and Miss Amber as badass stage managerette for the staggering amount of logistical prep!

For the show itself, I got to hang out with and assistant stage manage a collection of performers, ranging from local dance and vocal talent from the performing arts academy to cheerleaders from the high school to a local belly dance teacher and two of her students. It was wonderful to be able to watch these talented folks perform for their friends and family, as well as people who might have never seen them perform otherwise.

And now – at the end of it all, the morning after the show, there’s that familiar post-outdoor-community-based-epic-theatre feeling of aching muscles, slow rehydration, blur of memories from the day before, and immense satisfaction at having helped create something important to a lot of people.

The tunnel out into the finale area

The tunnel out into the finale area

We’re proud to have been involved in this incredible project. Thanks, Tamaqua!

One Comment leave one →
  1. WTGeorge permalink
    August 5, 2015 8:42 am

    Thanks, Emma. So pleased to see these photos and to hear of the great success of the production. Can’t wait to hear more stories.

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