Bennington Community Theater
The newly reconstituted Bennington Community Theater will be staging three
performances of “The Curious Savage” by John Patrick on December 7th and 8th at
Oldcastle Theatre. Although most of the casting already has been completed, volunteers
are still being sought to help with costumes, lights, building sets and working as ushers.
Bennington Community Theater intends to offer quality community theater that
will be separate from the professional theater offered by Oldcastle Theatre but — as part
of Oldcastle’s transition in to a year around performing arts center — will be under the
direction and control of the same board of directors.
While Oldcastle Theatre has been staging professional theater here since 1972,
there also have been various community theater groups in Bennington over the years,
dating back to the 19th century when amateur performances were staged at The
Bennington Opera House along with traveling minstrel shows and professional touring
companies performing “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and even an occasional opera. The most
recent version of community theater here was created several years ago by Robert Ebert,
who will continue to be involved with the project as it moves under Oldcastle’s
expanding performing arts center umbrella.
“The Curious Savage” is a comedy about Ethel Savage, a wealthy widow who –
to the distress of her grown children — intends to leave her wealth to help ordinary
people pursue their dreams. Convinced that she’s become mad — and wanting her
money for themselves — they have her committed to a sanitarium, whose patients seem
more sane than the Savage children do. The play will be directed by Christine Decker,
who teaches Acting 101 at Oldcastle and who has been in many Oldcastle productions
over the years, most recently in “Long Days Journey into Night”. Thirty-five people
auditioned for the dozen roles in the play, some of them graduates of the Acting 101
The process of transforming itself into a year round performing arts center has
been under way for some time, with movies, concerts, art exhibits, cabaret theater,
magicians and other forms of entertainment and education added to the professional
theater that has long been under the direction of Eric Peterson. The intent is to have even
more of them as the redevelopment of downtown Bennington takes place, with one of the
aims of the Oldcastle board of directors to have the stage at 331 Main Street serve as
Bennington’s new public square and to put area people of all ages on the stage as well as
in the seats.
There will be evening performances of “The Curious Savage” on the 7th and the
8th, and also a matinee on the 8th. The price of admission will be $10. The cast will
include Sue McIntosh as Ethel Savage, Phyllis Chapman as Dr. Emmett, Patricia Gardner
as Miss Wilhelmina, Mindy Border as Florence, Jana Lillie as Hannah, Jennifer Marcoux
as Fairy May, Mike Cutler as Jeffery, Leslie Bremner as Mrs. Paddy, D. Mark Blank as
Titus, and Erika Floriani as Lily Belle. The role of Samuel still remains to be cast.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help with community theater should send an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802 447-0564.