Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

June 6, 2014

Pat Smith: Tales of a Winkie General

Being a Winkie, so far at least, has been a pretty good experience.

Being the Winkie General – well, I’d better wait until after the Tree County Players production of the “Wizard of Oz” to talk big. Why is it that someone can be completely at ease giving a speech or program to loads of people but not when acting like a character in a play? Whoa now! That’s different.

I told Barb Waits, whom Taussie loves when she dog sits her, that I’d be turning 79-years-old in May and decided it was time to do something I’d never done before. “Maybe try out to be in a play – that terrifies me,” said I.

Barb got the word to Therese Zins who would be directing the next play. When I learned that it would be The Wizard of Oz, that settled it because my daughter would be home in June and she loves that play. I specified a preference for a non-speaking or few-word part. Barb and I tried out together. She got the part of an Oz Polisher and I got Winkie General. The General has only a few lines. Yes, it’s scary and never boring.

With no acting talent whatsoever, I plan to put everything I’ve got into the part. The few lines the General has to say will be said with gusto although one line is supposed to be said kinda pitiful. The fact that I know the difference, even if the difference has yet to be detected in my voice, indicates that I’ve come a long away.

Something learned so far during the three weeks of rehearsals is that acting is work – hard work. Directing is surely even harder. I wouldn’t (and couldn’t) have Therese Zins’ job if it was a highly paid endeavor. But believe it or not, Therese and everyone else connected to the play does it for free. Yes, everyone is a volunteer even those who sew the costumes, play the music, make the scenery and so on.

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