The Show Goes On at Scotia Village

Published: June 30, 2022

The popular Scotia Village Repertory Theater is back with a double-billing of entertainment this July 22 and 23. The all-resident company will perform “Aunt Martha Visits,” an episode of the Father Knows Best radio show, followed by the melodrama “Plantation Malady” in the first performances open to the public since before the pandemic. 

The last time the public was allowed to attend was in 2019. Although the residents resumed performances in 2021, only current residents and staff were allowed to attend. According to theater producer and resident, Brenda Gilbert, the shows in July are sure to be a big draw.  

“Everyone enjoys getting in the spirit of the performance,” says Brenda. “It’s the talk of the campus.” 

The show is expected to bring in a crowd from outside the community, as well, with the audience all but filling the campus’s entertainment center. Admission to the performances is free, but donations are accepted to help offset the costs of royalties, costumes and set materials. 

The radio show, “Aunt Martha Visits,” is performed just like an old-fashioned radio show with resident actors reading from scripts into prop microphones, complete with in-program “advertisements” and sound effects.  

The melodrama, “Plantation Malady,” or “Is There a Doctor in the South?” is a full production with costumes, sets and a traditional cast of characters. “During the melodrama, the audience members boo and even throw peanuts when the villain appears,” Brenda says with a laugh. 

The cast and crew are all residents of Scotia Village. Brenda serves as producer for the theater, while her husband, Gray, is the director. The couple started the Scotia Village Repertory Theater five years ago after moving to the community a year earlier. However, their roots in community theater go back much further. Brenda was a longtime director of the Encore! Theater in Laurinburg which she co-founded in 1990 (Gray directed the group’s first production).  

Although Brenda has been on stage throughout her life (and still steps into roles when the need arises), she finds great joy in seeking her fellow residents to take the lead. “It’s such fun to see people shine on stage who never did theater before,” she says. “It thrills me to see folks having such a good time.” 

More than 70 residents regularly take part in the performances, either on stage or as part of the small army of residents behind the scenes designing and building sets, creating costumes, working lighting and sound, designing playbills, and so much more. “I’ve been so impressed that we have so many talented residents willing to work and memorize lines, make costumes and sets,” she adds.  

According to Brenda, the actors spend up to six hours, three times a week rehearsing in preparation for the performances. 

The lead up to July’s performances hasn’t been without its own drama, though. The shows were supposed to be performed in June, but several of the cast and crew had to be quarantined. Thankfully, none of the residents had symptoms or tested positive for COVID. So the show, as they say, must go on!

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