SEEN: It's a place where you can do your absolute best and not hold back
BY JOHN CLANTON
Sunday, January 27, 2013
1/27/13 at 3:19 AM
Editor's note: Seen is a weekly feature showcasing the work of a Tulsa World photojournalist.
The last time I was in the Tulsa Spotlight Theater on a Saturday night was in 2003. The theater was celebrating its 50th anniversary back then.
And the show is still going - much as it has been since 1953.
In the dressing rooms, the actors are getting into costumes and makeup. Richard Robertson grimaces into a mirror as he smears on a thick layer. A retired geologist, he's been acting in "The Drunkard and the Olio" for 38 years. He counts off all the characters he's played on his fingers. Tonight he's Joe Morgan.
Robertson likes working with the people in the cast and says that he has gotten addicted to the applause. He likes the theater. "It's a place where you can do your absolute best and not hold back," he says.
As the show begins, I read the walls, signed and scribbled on by actors from years past, and watch Jere Uncapher silently mouth the words to the show as the actors recite them just a few feet away.
Jere's been a part of the show since he was 12 years old. He acted for a while, but these days he's the stage manager on Saturday and runs the theater the rest of the week.
It's a sold-out show Saturday night with more than 80 people sitting at neatly arranged tables, cheering the hero and booing the villain.
Backstage, the actors feed off the energy. It's a good crowd tonight.
This week, they'll rehearse again Wednesday night. Maybe audition a new member before they get started. The show starts all over again Saturday night, just like it has for years.
Courtney Padgett puts on makeup as she prepares to play Little Mary Morgan in “The Drunkard and the Olio” at Tulsa
Spotlight Theater. This production of “The Drunkard and The Olio” is the longest continuously running play in the country. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Stage Manager Jere Uncapher watches backstage, waiting to lower the curtain during a performance of “The Drunkard” at
Tulsa Spotlight Theater. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
John Hansen greets Sue Wiedemann and other actors backstage. The actors greet one another with the traditional “break a leg” before another presentation of “The Drunkard and The Olio.” JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Members of the audience sing along to songs before a performance of “The Drunkard and The Olio.” JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World