Helping Hands That Help Create

By on 31 October, 2013 in Art, Greg Thornton with 0 Comments

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”  – Woodrow Wilson

During the weeks leading up to the opening of Wait Until Dark, the Playhouse’s most recent production, we had a work session on the set at which more than a dozen people were pitching in to help. There isn’t anything particularly earth-shattering in this, nor anything especially unusual. Normally as we work on sets, we have three to four folks wielding hammers or brandishing power drills. This has been our history, as far as it goes, approaching the end of our second season. But, on this particular day, I was given a vision of what it could be when the community graciously and generously answers the call.

I have been involved in volunteer activities throughout most of my life, either as a volunteer, or in organizations that received the help of volunteers. There are very few endeavors that are as satisfying. I do think that Woodrow Wilson had it right in his statement: “You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” This speaks to a truth that I have tried to hold onto in my career as an actor-The gift has no true worth until it is given back- I think that is how the volunteer approaches life. It certainly is true of the volunteers I have known. They are dedicated, unselfish, committed, and caring. The Playhouse volunteers all fit this description and we are eternally grateful to them for their dedication.

In any attempt to thank them and list their names, I know that I am heading down a slippery slope and no doubt will leave someone out. But here goes: From our box office team, Marshall St.Clair, Fletcher Hyde, Loretta Bacon, and Rick Anderson, Tara Sexton to our front-of house crew, Curtia Torbert, Teri Sweeney, Anice Glarrow, Greg Babb, John Teague, Renea Dijab, Marti Rice, Katie Pearson, Paul Brantley, Joy Simoneau, Leah Meachem, Janie Allred, Eric Kidwell, and Blake Eatman to our reception committee, Pat Thornton, Loretta Bacon, Tara Sexton, Marshall St. Clair, Danny Davidson, Marti Rice, Kay Jacoby, Fern Shinbaum, Jean Tribble, Julia Cooper, Loretta Bacon, M. Dee Taylor, Sandra Sutton, Tara Sexton, Una Parker, Roberta Collins, Ann Carlton, Carolyn Rigsby, and Gaye Curlin to the great crews who build our sets and work backstage, Cliff Merritt, Mike Winkelman, Ed Fieder, Peter Isaacson, Andrew Bayley, George Jacobsen, Scott Page, Gita Smith, Mark Hunter, Wade Moore, Rusty Bailey, Jaylan Thompson, Layne Holley, Terry Smyly, Michael Krek, Mary Belle Scott, Kathy Hutchinson, Tina Dubberly, Madison Faile, Katie Pearson, and Mary Katherine Moore to Rita Pearson Daley, Jason Morgan, Alicia Ruth Jackson, Sarah Adkins, and Crystie Marlett to our extraordinary designers of set, light, and sound and costumes Mike Winkelman, Ed Fieder, Johnny Veres, Peter Isaacson, Will Abner and James Treadway, Danny Davidson, Eleanor Davis, and Beth Linn Clark to our managers of the stage Todd Jeffries, Madie Bogazc, Shaina Pierce, Shelley Lewis, Jason Morgan, Hannah Trachy, Alicia Ruth Jackson and James Treadway to our directors Randy Foster, Eleanor Davis, Sam Wooten, John McWilliams, and Fiona Macleod an their assistants Alex Katz, Tyler Turner, Sarah Sanford to the talented guys who co-ordinate our Joe Thomas Jr. 3rd Tuesday Guitar Pull Robert Bubba Hall and Michael Thornton to our Artistic Committee and Board of Directors who support and inspire the work we do to all of the Friends of the Playhouse whose support is so essential to Mary Lee Yelverton and Emily Lowder Wooten for chairing this terrific group to Stephen Brickley,Henry Orem, Sadie Burgher, Katie Crews, Merlilee Robinson, Danielle Phillips, Anna Perry, Kim Cauthen Wolfe, Rod and Toni Bourke, Hannah and Heavenly, Edward Fieder, Mark Dauber, and Susan Starr to our Volunteer Chairs Danny Davidson and George Jacobsen, the volunteer extraordinaire. And lastly, but as they say, certainly not least, to the gifted and gracious actors who grace our stage with their wonderful performances. To all of these named and those to be named, who will become part of the Playhouse family giving of themselves and volunteering their time and energy and talents, – my unending gratitude.

In his story, What Shall We Do? Leo Tolstoy considers the world around him that is in desperate need of charitable and dedicated people. Tolstoy refers to the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 3: in which the people were seeking an answer from Christ as to how life ought to be lived. Christ exhorted them to look outside themselves and to seek the higher things. Meditating on this passage, while considering his own society’s challenges, Tolstoy writes: “Add your light to the sum of light.” In a world that seems filled with shadows and too many lives spent in darkness, I consider the volunteers at the Playhouse and cannot help thinking how refreshing it is to encounter the generosity and talent that sheds light in such abundance.

Greg Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse.

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