We are just 22 days away from the opening night of our 2019 season and rehearsals are well under way for Matthew Barber's Enchanted April, under the direction of Jessica Patterson-Galayda. And while Jessica may be a first-time director for the Bobcat Players, she certainly is not new to the stage--or the director's chair, for that matter. (You may have most recently seen her direction of the Red Barn Players' production of Bonnie & Clyde last July.) In fact, you may not realize that Jessica isn't even new to the Bobcat Players; last year, she was stage manager for Blithe Spirit, a monster of an undertaking. That's when I first began to get to know her--and I was immediately impressed. It was clear she knew her way around a theater; she was confident, efficient, and extremely organized. Jessica's experience and work on Blithe Spirit was crucial to the show's success, and we are so excited to have her back this year. Fortunately for all of us, Jessica graciously took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about what's happening behind the scenes with Enchanted April!
Casey: So we've obviously established that you are not new to the stage, but can you tell us a little about your background?
Jessica: I grew up in theatre. My dad is a performer and my mom is actually going to be my stage manager for this production, so you can certainly see how it has always been a part of me--since before I can remember! I directed 12 student productions while in college at Slippery Rock University. As a student, I studied music but also took acting classes. And while I have directed musicals before, Enchanted April is my first play. I am very excited to try something new!
Casey: And we're very excited to see it! You also brought on an assistant director for this show. Can you tell us a bit about her and what she brings to the table? Have you two worked together before?
Jessica: Hopi Myers-Arrigoni has been one of my best friends since college and we have been in many shows together. I have been her director, as well as her cast-mate, but this is Hopi's first time in the director's chair. Honestly, you would never know it seeing her work. She has been wonderful! She has an energy that not only leads a cast well, but inspires actors and pulls things out of them that exceed their own expectations of themselves. She is professional and has a great balance of humor that keeps rehearsals fun. I definitely look forward to working on a show with her again and I encourage her to keep on directing.
Casey: That's fantastic. I'm looking forward to meeting her, as well as the rest of the cast. How has your experience with the Bobcats been so far?
Jessica: "Marvelous!" The cast and production team have been a pleasure to work with!
Casey: Always glad to hear that! So what do you think is special about Enchanted April and why did it appeal to you as a director?
Jessica: I believe we all have moments in our life where we don't feel like we are really "living," where we are just going through the motions. I feel like we all wish we could, at some point, do something spontaneous to break us from our routines. That feeling is something most people can relate to in their everyday lives. And there is a lesson in this show of self-worth that so many people need today. "Sometimes one just has to step back a bit."
Casey: So true. What are you most looking forward to with Enchanted April?
Jessica: My favorite part about being a director is seeing how the audience reacts to my vision of the show. I would really like to see what people take from it, especially since there is such a strong and beautiful message in this play.
Casey: What would you say to encourage audiences to attend?
Jessica: Enchanted April is a charming show that will provide a lovely night out. The play gives you the opportunity to get away from it all for a bit, and follow our actors to Italy to make your month of April, well, enchanting! To quote, all you need to do is read the advertisement: "To those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine..."
Tickets are now on sale online, at the Hostess Gift Shoppe in Beaver, and through our reservation line. We've never experienced such early ticket sales, so don't wait until it's too late! More information is available on the show poster below. And stay tuned for our next blog entry in two weeks, where we get to know the cast!