Ever since being introduced to Gail E. Haley’s wonderful award winning book, A Story A Story, I have wanted to bring it alive onstage. The characters are marvelous and the story is such a delight. When I read it, I could “see” the set with its spider web to the sky and imagine the antics of that endearing trickster, Ananse. The power of a quality piece of children’s literature is that it ignites our imaginations and sets our minds wandering in new and different ways. For me, adapting A Story A Story became an exciting adventure.
On my journey to bring the story to the stage, I worked with many exceptional people who shared my vision for the book. British composer, Kenneth Roberts, who not only wrote the music for this production but also became ETC’s Musical Director, has become a dear friend and collaborator on other projects. Ananse the Spider Man was Robin Marcotte from the moment I began writing the adaptation and his talent, drive, and positive work ethic has given us all a role model to follow. I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge and thank Marilyn and Sekou Sylla, from Bamidele Dance and Drum. Even though a serious car accident took Sekou and Marilyn away from us early on in the process so that Sekou could undergo two difficult surgeries, the week they spent with us was filled with laughter, love, and learning. A special thank you to our dear friend Randy Armstrong for so ably stepping in to cover Sekou’s drumming and to all those who pitched in to assist with the dance in the production. We truly are a village!
The story goes on and on of the many people who willingly entered into the creative process needed to produce Ananse The Spider Man. The talent in our local area is outstanding. Who could ask for more than Eva Nagorka, Melody Funk, and Lauren Keefe as the 3-headed Diva Goddess Nyami? And what about Domino Deas, a 22 year veteran of the Floor Lords as the Leopard, or our beautiful fairies, Olivia Etchings, Tina Howard, and Raina Chong? These people, along with our talented storytellers and other wonderful cast members, young and old, represent the very best singers, actors, and dancers our region has to offer. I cannot even begin to thank them for their commitment and dedication to ETC.
And then there are those “behind the scenes” folks, the individuals who never get enough credit in my eyes. Sue Keefe and Robb Dimmick, my co-producers, have been a constant source of support and Sally Grand, my amazingly talented friend, whose graphics have brought our publicity to life. Stage Managers Rob Hayden and Jason Hibbard, and our resident genius Matt Kizer, set and lighting designer, have worked so hard, along with our choreographers Carole Morrison, Marilyn and Sekou Sylla, and Lisa Travis. Hundreds of hours were spent on our costumes. Thank you Carmelina Fauteux, LouAnn Salchunas, Jaylene Bengsten, Kristin Jarvis, Elizabeth Becker, and your fabulous costume crew, along with the many undergraduate and graduate students who assisted throughout the process. Special thanks also go to Bob Bruemmer, Stuart Crowell, Joanna Burr, Dean Clegg, Ian Silva, Jill Gagnon, our technical staff and crew, Ginny Fisher, Trudy Pelletier, Karen Weldon, Barbara Noyes, Diane Jeffrey, and the entire Silver Center staff. It is important that each one of you knows how much you are valued in the process.
I would also like to personally thank Rick and Cailey Lindberg, Gail E. Haley, Dr. Donald Wharton, Dr. Virginia Barry, Dr. Dennise Maslakowski, Dr. Pat Cantor, Dick Hage, Bill Crangle, Doreen Burrows, Alex Ray, Diane Downing, Karen Ray, Susan and Tim Keefe, Robb Dimmick, Dr. Ken and Carole Heuser, Drs. Katy and Dick Fralick, Marilyn O’Connell, Irene and Ken Mosedale, Betsy Cheney, Peter Hutchins, Mark Halloran, Faith Northrop, Lynda Mower, Ann Marie Jones, Valerie Smith, Dan and Jill Perkins, and Beth Cox for their belief in ETC as well as Plymouth State University’s partners in this effort, Plymouth Elementary School and Friends of the Arts. Thank you all. I am always amazed at the outpouring of love and support from this wonderful community we all enjoy.
As Gail Haley states in the conclusion to her book, “This is my story which I have related. If it be sweet, or if it be not sweet, take some elsewhere and let some come back to me.”
Thank you for being here and becoming part of our “village”. We welcome you with open arms.
Artistic Director/Co-Founder ETC