Treasures Abound

by Joanne Alcantara
from the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska
Volume IX. Oct-Nov 2013

After a few years in Juneau, the incredible grace and beauty of the natural environment can seem ordinary. Summer evenings driving around town for the chance to photograph bears turn into rushed fall mornings picking up trash dragged across neighborhood yards before winter’s hibernation sets in. We get used to seeing the extraordinary. A bear walks into a bar is not a local joke; it’s our local reality.

In the aftermath of the spring 2013 production of the road weeps, the well runs dry, by Marcus Gardley, and in preparation for the fall season at Perseverance, the art drives its own pace forward and the amazing machine of the theatre takes hold. In this moment, two different Perseverance shows are simultaneously running tech in two different cities and are simultaneously influenced by the diversity initiative developed for the road weeps. This might seem like an ordinary event, but the theatre’s core staff consists only of seven full-timers, a handful of part-timers, four interns and a gang of seasonal workers. While our two-hundred-square-foot office housed twelve bodies last week, churning out marketing, outreach, education, logistics, grants and even an audit, this week it is deserted. A lone intern commits to the nine-to-five schedule for the phones while the rest of the crew juggles like mad to orchestrate the double-tech which will lead to back-to-back opening weekends.

What is remarkable, which might have easily been missed in a previous Perseverance season, is that the joyful outreach calendar continues forward as well. This is due to the diligent efforts of staff member Amy O’Neill Houck, who also organized the events surrounding Juneau’s production of the road weeps, the well runs dry. In the midst of the brilliant chaos of our two-city opening, Houck is bringing to life fellow partnerships and creating diverse, family-friendly events to lure crowds for the upcoming production of Treasure Island. On November 9th, she will be hosting a gathering of community members to develop new relationships and strengthen existing ones. That same evening, the theatre will honor two individuals who have committed themselves to the success of the theatre.

Perseverance is proud to celebrate diverse casting for Treasure Island, including two actresses from our spring production of the road weeps. Shadow Meienberg and Erin Tripp have transformed in this season from a migrating mother and daughter duo to being part of a swashbuckling crew.

Sparked by the road weeps, the development of the outreach plan is steadily finding its spirit, continuing onward despite the mayhem that surrounds it. In this time, we celebrate the lessons learned from the road weeps, diving into community relationships that sustain and strengthen the theatre. Like the bear in the bar, the wildness of the Perseverance season is navigating its way between our old habits and the new opportunities before us.


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