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The play’s the thing…



Those who know their Bison history will recall that the “Little Country Theatre” movement was set in motion by our very own Alfred Arvold [1882–1957] in 1914. Surely the Theater Department is marking that centennial somehow. Theater became one of the staples in rural and small-town life, where enthusiasm is likely to have trumped talent most of the time. My own talents may be slim enough [I can suggest someone you should ask about that] but my zest for certain topics is without end.

My connection with what’s going on in this photograph is in fact the essence of theater. Cecil Elliott spoke often about higher education and concluded that teaching and vaudeville are identical in this regard; you can be successful at either if you do three things: 1) know your material; 2) read the audience; and 3) play to the back row. Whatever success I have had I owe to that simple formula.

This still photo from an unidentified play seems to be connected with Aledo, Illinois. [I have an Akron-Auditorium church example from Aledo, if memory serves.] At least that’s where the photographer was located. Given the long-term collective memory of small-town America, I suspect it wouldn’t take much to identify both the play and the actors. Suffice to say, this image will do double duty in Agincourt: 1) it will become a production at the theater company directed by Seamus Tierney (a.k.a., James O’Rourke) and a new photographer’s name can be photoshopped in place of Carlson.

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