NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Theatre goers have two dramatically different plays to attend at this year's Stephen F. Austin State University Summer Stage Festival.
They include the serious classic, "The Glass Menagerie" and the children's story even adults will like, "The Emperor's New Clothes." East Texas News went on and behind the stage to give us a glimpse of all the preparations.
"House going dark again," said a crew member. "Thank you."
Three zany doctors and a sick emperor set the stage for "The Emperor's New Clothes."
"You are sick. You are sick, indisputably, you are sick," sang one of the actors. "Yes the man is a living, breathing corpse."
"And I'm feeling like I'm going to pass out," the actor playing the Emperor said.
Acting sick is fine to director Angela Bacarisse, but she has no time for the real stuff as casts must prepare two plays, several times a week over six weeks.
"Last night I left at 11:15, and I know there were people here for hours after I left, so it's an intense process," Bacarisse said.
That is especially true for Shelby Gilliam who not only sings and dances in the "Emperor's New Clothes," but also plays the demanding role Amanda, the mother in "The Glass Menagerie."
"They are polar opposites, so different," Gilliam said.
The humble actress is receiving rave reviews in "Menagerie."
"My performance has a lot to do with my team, the other actors on stage," Gilliam said. "They contribute to so much in what I'm doing."
That was just who we happened to find backstage sewing the Emperor's new clothes.
"I play Laura," one actor said.
"I play Jim," another actor said.
Costume designer Barbara Blackwell said actors make great costume assistants.
"We're finishing up for our first dress tonight," Blackwell said. I love sewing and getting things together, but seeing it come alive on stage that's the real payoff."
Audiences have three more weeks of rotating performances of classic drama or fast-paced musical.
After a loud sneeze, Bacarisse clapped and said, "Good. Good."
The Emperor's New Clothes will premier Thursday with afternoon and evening performances. The evening show is a "pay-what-you-can" performance thanks to a grant from the Nacogdoches Walmart. For more information, visit this link, or call (936) 468-6407 or 1-888-240-ARTS.