Final musings from the director of “The Last Days of Wonder”

Becca Russo, Julie Mitre and Christine O'Keef star in The Last Days of Wonder.

A creative process that began for me more than a year ago is coming to an end this weekend, so allow an old man some musing time about what an amazing journey it’s been.

Becca Russo, Julie Mitre and Christine O'Keef star in The Last Days of Wonder.
Becca Russo, Julie Mitre and Christine O’Keefe star in The Last Days of Wonder.

What I’m talking about is the conclusion of the 2nd Act Players’ One-Act Play Festival this weekend, March 24-26. There are still tickets available for every show so come and see it, you’ll regret missing our talented actors in two fascinating stories about love. Click here for tickets.

I’ve taken the opportunity of the festival to direct a play for the first time and have really enjoyed working with the cast of The Last Days of Wonder, three highly accomplished actors.

Directing them was easy, really. And it was something that felt very familiar to me, given my years as an editor and editorial director in the world of journalism, which was my 1st act.

I love bringing together creative people to let them create. I try to guide and get them to think about their choices along the way, but ultimately it is their work the public sees.

Becca Russo, Julie Mitre and Christine O’Keefe have been amazing. My main regret is only that more people have not come to see their work because those that have were glowing in their evaluations after each show. I already miss watching them work at rehearsals three nights a week, saying goodbye to them will be like saying goodbye to family for me.

Kirsty Collins was amazing as my assistant director as well. Again, having her as a strong, insightful, skilled number 2 person was familiar for me because I had always relied on strong managing editors to deal with details and provide insights to me in my journalism days.

Having Kirsty there to spot things I was missing and to help actors get their lines down was invaluable to all of us. Kirsty allowed me to do what I do best, which is see the big picture. And that’s the essence of creating a great team, putting people in positions where they can play to their strengths and in which their weaknesses don’t hurt them. Thank you Kirsty.

Planning for the festival began a year ago when we decided to host a script-writing competition for one-act plays. The 2nd Act Players’ mission is to showcase new talent. We’ve done that on stage for five years now, and we wanted to do it in a bigger way, casting a wider net for new playwrights. The response was more than we had expected.

Once we selected the scripts, we had to find actors. Auditions were held toward the end of 2016. Auditions are a very hit and miss proposition for any theater but especially for a small one such as the 2nd Act Players.

Thankfully, we were truly blessed with some great actors we found through the audition process. Casting for two plays at once complicated the process but, just as in Shakespeare in Love, it all worked out in the end through the magic of the theater.

I am sad because it is ending. I am supremely thankful to everyone who did come and, especially to the creative family I was blessed to work with. Thank you all.

John Frank



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