OrangeMite Studios in Dover: See how theater was performed in the 19th century
If you go
What: "Cyrano de Bergerac"
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 21-22 and Aug. 28-30
Where: OrangeMite Studios, 2035 Tall Fir Drive, Dover
Cost: $15 for adults, $12 for students. Online purchases receive a $2 discount.
More information: Visit orangemite.org or call 717-814-1151.
When guests drive up OrangeMite Studios' driveway, they might think they're in the wrong place. The narrow driveway winds into the woods, past a home and ends in the grass in front of a red barn.
A rustic barn isn't what most people expect when they plan a night out to the theater.
But doubts disappear when they see a chicken coop that's been converted into a ticket booth. Welcome to OrangeMite.
Inside the wooden barn, about 65 folding chairs are lined along the left and right walls, and a small 45-by-28-foot stage, featuring both a trap door and a balcony, sits in between. The two barn doors open out, giving the audience a view of a scenic pasture.
"It's country theater at its best," OrangeMite guest director Starr Hagenbring said.
The theater has no elaborate stage lighting and no sound system, but that's what makes it the perfect place to perform classic Shakespeare.
OrangeMite Studios has performed Shakespeare in the Barn productions since 2008. But for the first time this weekend, the volunteer-run community theater will present its first non-Shakespeare play, "Cyrano de Bergerac."
Hagenbring said she suggested performing "Cyrano de Bergerac" about two years ago because she thought the comedy, tragedy and sword fighting would lend itself to the barn.
"Shakespeare is great," she said, "but let's do something that's really kind of different and cool — an alternative to the heaviness of Shakespeare."
"Cyrano de Bergerac" — written by the French poet Edmond Rostand in 1897, about the same time the barn was built — tells the story of the real-life French Army cadet Cyrano who lived in the 1600s. He was a man of many talents, excelling at poetry, philosophy, astronomy and sword fighting, but he was always held back by his appearance, specifically his large nose.
"He's somebody in your inner-self that most people can relate to," Hagenbring said. "It hits all of the emotions Once you get beyond all the laughing and crying, you know what it is, it's (like) a buddy movie. It's about accidental friendship and love and what happens when two or three people are in love with the same people."
While Hagengring said the barn provides the perfect setting for the play, the layout of the stage did present some challenges.
For example, the sword fighting had to be choreographed in a way that allowed the audience on both sides of the theater to see the action. And Hagenbring had to figure out a way to fit actors in large hoop skirts through the small trap door.
Because the stage is too small to fit dozens of people, Hagenbring also had to be careful of crowding the stage. So, she cast only 13 actors, ranging in age from 8 to 55, to play all 44 characters.
But those challenges just add to the magic of the theater, she said.
"You're asking the audience to use their imagination and be creative along with you," she said.
"That's what the barn is all about — getting everybody to come on a ride with us and enjoy the show."
More plays to see this weekend
'The Mouse That Roared'
This comedy based on the book by Leonard Wibberley tells the story of the misjudgments, miscalculations and misunderstandings that occur as Grand Fenwick declares war on the United States.
Show times: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21 and Saturday, Aug. 22 and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 and Sunday, Aug. 23 at DreamWrights Youth and Family Theatre, 100 Carlisle Ave., York. Visit www.dreamwrights.org for more information.
'Always Patsy Cline'
Listen to your favorite Patsy Cline songs like "Anytime," "Walkin' After Midnight," and "She's Got You" in this musical based on the true story of Cline's friendship with Houston housewife Louise Seger.
Show times: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20 through Saturday, Aug. 22 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23 at the Bon-Ton Studio at York Little Theatre, 27 S. Belmont St., York. Visit www.ylt.org for more information.
An American nurse stationed in the South Pacific during World War II falls in love with a French plantation owner in this Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The story explores the issue of racial prejudice.
Show times: 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23 at Allenberry Resort Inn and Playhouse, 1559 Boiling Springs Road, Boiling Springs. Visit allenberry.com for more information.
Get ready to go back to school with Danny, Sandy, Rizzo and the rest of the gang from Rydell High.
Show times: 12:30 p.m. dinner and 2 p.m. show Thursday, Aug. 20 and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 6:30 p.m. dinner and 8 p.m. show Friday, Aug. 21 and Saturday, Aug. 22 at The Pines Dinner Theatre, 448 N. 17th St., Allentown. Visit pinesdinnertheatre.com for more information.
This Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical is based on the legend of King Arthur.
Show times: 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21 and Saturday, Aug. 22 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23 at Gettysburg Community Theatre, 49 York St., Gettysburg. Visit gettysburgcommunitytheatre.org for more information.
About 45 actors and dozens of live animals bring the Bible story of Joseph and his technicolor dreamcoat to life.
Show times: 2:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20 and Friday, Aug. 21 and 11 a.m., 2:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22 at Sight & Sound Theatres, 300 Hartman Bridge Road, Strasburg. Visit sight-sound.com for more information.
'West Side Story'
Hear your favorite songs like "Tonight," "I Feel Pretty" and "Maria" in this musical about a romance caught between two New York City street gangs in the '50s.
Show times: 1:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21 and Saturday, Aug. 22 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23 at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, 510 Centerville Road, Lancaster. Visit dutchapple.com for more information.