DECATUR — As the theater saying goes, “The show must go on” — even during a pandemic.
Decatur’s community theater company Theatre 7 may be unable to perform on a stage, but that hasn't stopped them from entertaining fans.
Their latest project "Back from the Dead" are short films and clips featuring various stories and lessons. The shorts were posted on their Facebook page the week of Halloween but the group will continue to show off its talents throughout November. The clips will have a central theme, “What are you thankful for?”
“We’re hoping to maybe go out and talk to some patrons, talk to some people in Decatur, and ask them what they are thankful for in this time of uncertainty,” said Tanya Haubner, Theatre 7 president. “Just remember that we are all safe and sound and we have lots of things to be thankful for.”
The producers and actors have been stifled since their last show, “The 39 Steps,” was on stage in February. The pandemic has postponed auditions and performances for the year.
But an actor must act.
Since the pandemic, Theatre 7 members haven’t had many opportunities to be on stage. “We haven't done anything,” Haubner said.
The actors have been creating their own productions with help from each other. “We’re out doing some fun videos for everybody to watch,” Haubner said.
The “Back from the Dead” posts were created to kick off Halloween Week, as well as let the public know they are ready to get back to entertaining. The videos include narratives, children’s stories and makeup tutorials. “It’s some fun stuff, but also some acting and theatrical stuff,” Haubner said.
The first posted video was of actress Emily Steele reading a children’s book, with a multitude of dogs weaving in and out of the video camera’s view, with many close-ups. Throughout Steele's story, she speaks to the dogs. "Rudy, you have to get out of the way," she said a few times to a chocolate lab.
One of the latest productions was filmed at Decatur’s infamous Greenwood Cemetery. Theatre 7 actress Christina Bolsen, dressed in ominous black clothing, strolled among the older tombstones relaying some of the spooky stories.
The Devil’s Chair was one of her subjects. She relays the legend of the sculpted seat and the plight of anyone who dares to sit on it.
“There are multiple (chairs) throughout the cemetery,” Bolsen said. “Somehow throughout the years, this specific morning chair within Greenwood is now said to be haunted.”
Theatre 7 company has hopes for the future. The first step is to make it back on stage safely. “To turn those lights back on, to bring our patrons back in,” Haubner said. “We can have fun and present you with great theater, great live theater.”
Until the actors and producers are allowed to return to the stage, the company will do what they can to perform. Auditions are planned for their upcoming show, “Noises Off,” in November.
“We’re going to figure out a way to bring you guys the shows that you love,” Haubner said. “It might be in a totally different situation, but we’re still here and we’re going to make this happen.”
Remember these places? Decatur's theater history
Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR
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