Taconic Stage Company

Register Star (Excerpt)

Taconic Stage Company's debut is 'Something'

Charles Kondek

      The newly formed Taconic Stage Company got off the ground in Copake last Friday night with a colorful, swiftly paced, zippity-doo-dah production of a new musical revue, "I Know I Came in Here for Something..."  The book and lyrics are by one-time elected town official of Copake, Canadian-born Carl Ritchie; the music is by Los Angeles composer Wayne Moore. Ritchie is also the artistic director/producer for the new enterprise as he was for three and a half years with the previous theatre group in town, The Copake Theatre Company.

      This funny, four-person revue concerns the aging process, with topics ranging from erectile dysfunction to forgetting grocery lists, class reunions to giving birth late in life. The two gentlemen in the show sing a paean to their bulging bellies; the two women sing of their conflicting attitud towards menopause. During its two-hour length there are not many vicissitudes about aging that are not skewered, humorously, affectionately, with pin-point accuracy by Ritchie and his company.

      Revues are very hard to get right; consequently they're not done much. Unlike a musical, each review sketch, each revue song has different subject matter, a different point to make, there is no connecting dramatic arc, no through line with which you get to know characters, watch them grow, and probably end up caring for them. Ritchie, however, pulls it all together. He revels in revues, and the evening here is skillfully directed, with enormous attention paid to detail. It's crip, and cleanly paced. And since he wrote the show he definitely knows what and where the laughs are, and there are a lot of them.

      The four spirited and fast moving performers are Deidre Devere Bollinger (Shakespeare & Company), David L. Greene (3 NYS Tennis Championships), Brian Litscher (Berkshire Theatre Festival), and Cathy Lee-Visscher (founding member of the Ghent Playhouse). They easily manage to distinctly define separate characters, all of whom are readily recognizable, people we've all known.

      The costumes are a tad ordinary at the beginning - bright T-shirts and slacks and skirts, looking more or less like what they are, low-budget actor clothes - but gradually they work their way uop to being cleverly colorful, imaginative and even opulent. The designer is Helen Schneider.

      Copake resident and veteran lighting designer Christine Wopat (Houston Grand Opera, San Fransisco Opera) again proves one doesn't need hundreds of lighting instruments to be creative and get the job done.

      Ritchie plans another two shows for the company between now and the end of the year. A modest beginning, but this is a group to be closely watched, as the sold-out audience did cheeringly on openin g night.

      "I Know I Came in Here for Something..." has been extended another two weeks. Performances will now play Fridays and Saturdays through August 15 at the Lighthouse Marina and Restaurant overlooking Copake Lake. It'sa lovely setting. The price of admission includes a full three course buffet dinner served between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. when the show begins.

      For tickets, if there are any left, 518.325.1234.