Spend some time with the members of local theater troupe Silver Scene Players and you’ll hear one word come up again and again.
Whether they’re referring to their own community of actors and production staff, the local community of Marysville and Union County, or community in a more general sense, community and connectedness seems to be the driving force of the organization.
“With theater, you get to step outside of yourself to see yourself in something bigger. You have this opportunity to grow, both as an actor and as a member of the audience. ” said Silver Scene Players producer David Dodds. “To be able to reach the community at large through Silver Scene Players and have an impact is an awesome thing.”
Drawing talent from Union County and beyond, Silver Scene Players stages two productions a year. The proceeds from each show they perform go entirely to local non-profit organizations. Past beneficiaries include the Union County Humane Society, the Hope Center and the Marysville Food Pantry.
This season, Silver Scene Players have been working on something a little different. Instead of performing old favorites like “Once Upon a Mattress” or “Twelve Angry Men,” the group is tackling a play written by one of their own members. Amanda Rockhold has been with Silver Scene Players for two years, but she’s been perfecting her play “Dancing in Riddles,” for much longer. While studying theater at Urbana University, Rockhold was inspired to write her own “memory play,” something she encountered while stage managing “The Glass Menagerie.”
“I was very inspired by Tennessee Williams when I started writing ‘Dancing in Riddles,'” Rockold explained. “It’s just about a family and dealing with brokenness and the desire for freedom, with little hope.”
“Dancing in Riddles” centers on a family, struggling with complex issues and strained relationships, as seen through the eyes of the 18-year old daughter.
Although the play isn’t based directly off of Rockhold’s own experience, she says a lot of the themes the play explores are universal, and may even feel familiar to viewers.
“It’s a play about growing up and realizing that nothing is perfect,” Rockhold said. “Sometimes we don’t realize that members of our family are people too. I’d like people to walk away from the show and re-examine their own relationships.”
Although the play is a “straight play”—meaning it’s not a musical—there are musical elements, including original music and choreography from a dancer who ends each scene, expressing things that the characters may have left unsaid.
“The thing I appreciate about this show is that it’s very open-ended,” said Dodds. “The audience will walk away, asking ‘Who am I in this play?’ and ‘How is my role in life going to play out from this point forward?’ That’s the powerful thing about theater.”
“I think it’s important to develop empathy by stepping into another world that you might not know,” said Rockhold. “Coming to a show and identifying with characters in that show, that may not be a part of your world, can open your eyes to certain truths in life.”
Rockhold and Dodds also encouraged the community to come out and see the show to support this season’s beneficiary: Union County Neighbor to Neighbor. (UCN2N) Neighbor to Neighbor brings together volunteers with members of our community who need a helping hand from time to time. Volunteer tasks range from transportation and errands, household chores, small maintenance tasks and more. Since opening in July 2016, UCN2N volunteers have fulfilled over 775 service requests.
“The value of helping neighbors makes sense in our community. We have a culture that cares and stands ready to serve, we simply didn’t have a vehicle to make the connection,” said Holly Novak, Neighbor to Neighbor Membership Committee Chair. “Neighbor to Neighbor offers the connection to bring neighbors together with willing volunteers.
Bringing people together is the heart of Neighbor to Neighbor’s mission — much like Silver Scene Players.
“We hope to bless the socks off of Union County Neighbor to Neighbor. That’s the core of what we’re doing,” Dodds said.
“Dancing in Riddles” premieres next weekend at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 28 at 2 p.m. You can buy tickets here.