Lake Superior Theatre wraps up season

Who was it who said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it?” Do you all feel that way about how our summer evaporated? Now that fall is here, as evidenced by the colored leaves and the falling acorns, we are so thankful we made time for some staycation adventures. All of us frantically enjoyed those brief days of summer during August so we could deal with the coming of winter in better spirits.
August 10 was the supermoon, and I hope you got a glimpse of it. All this supermoon watching is a wonderful excuse to go out and look at the night sky, which many of us in the Upper Peninsula don’t do often enough, given our rare opportunities to experience the night sky without light pollution from a big city. Every time it happens, I want to make sure I get a picture of LST with the reflection of the supermoon, but once again it was a weary weekend and I just could not do a  midnight photography session.
That moon was as close as a full moon ever gets to Earth during 2014, so sorry if you missed it. When a full moon is closest to Earth, it is about fourteen percent wider and thirty percent brighter than normal. While it might not be possible to see the difference with the naked eye, the incredible number of pictures on Instagram and other sharing sites made it possible for all of us to travel around the world and see the supermoon almost anywhere. Whatever the reason, the moon looks more impressive on the rise. It also makes for a better picture when you can include something interesting in the foreground. So, thanks to today’s technology, we saw the moon rising over the French Alps and lots of other amazing places…except over the boathouse. Next year, I promise.
One promise we had to keep was a mad dash auction trip to Isle Royale one weekend in August. I reflected on how lucky our weather window was as the winds, rain and storms descended the following week. I struggled a bit to to capture the amazing moments for the October update. Going to Isle Royale transforms my husband Pete with joy. Happiness is a giddy, fleeting feeling, but joy snuggles down in the soul and stays there. Having taken many trips to this national treasure with his grandfather as young boy, going back to the island restores the joy he felt learning about and experiencing the treasures with Grandpa. As the old saying goes, “Grandchildren are God’s way of compensating us for growing old,” and I am sure his grandfather also treasured those trips.
Going to Isle Royale with Pete is like Mickey Mouse taking you to Disney World. People come from all over the world to see this crown jewel of the national park system, and in so many ways, Isle Royale is our treasure we are lucky to have nearby. Sort of God’s way of compensating us for ten months of winter, maybe?
When you go to Isle Royale, there is both adventure and peace, both serenity and exercise. Since you are living off the technology grid without Wi-Fi and cell phones, it seems there is much more time, even during a short visit; and since the island takes some determination and time to get to, one always tries to fill every waking moment with the experience. If one is lucky enough to see a moose, hear the loons sing, enjoy the breathtaking hiking views, visit the lighthouse and fishery, kayak downwind, pick some wild berries and have great weather to enjoy it all, then one is lucky indeed.
It is sad so few people visit this island. (Yes, I know it is supposed to be wilderness, but compared to trips in the ’80s and ’90s, the diminished number of visitors is apparent.) This is not a dress rehearsal, this is life, so make it count. “In the deep still silence of this sacred place I could feel the Earth’s beating heart” is what the Isle Royale Wilderness speaks to me…the wilderness speaks to each of us in a different way. For many, going to Isle Royale is the closest we come to meditating. We go to fitness centers or jog the bike path and count push-ups to exercise our bodies, but meditation is push-ups for our brain. It is the way we reboot those circuits working 24/7 in our crazy lives.
Pippin taught us a great lesson, about how we need to stop longing for something grand and live in the now. Find happiness and contentment in the now. Find it in all the treasures you can explore this fall with family and friends.
August was a blur of busy youth theatre performances, as two casts presented Narnia. The magical land of Narnia was entered each evening through a portal where we marveled at the magic, mythical beasts, talking animals and the White Witch, who has imposed a perpetual winter. We all wondered whether somehow she had come through the portal into our world last winter with what seemed like perpetual winter. We smiled at Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who were such fun to watch. I wondered whether they realized last year our busy beaver at the boathouse had literally cleared a section of trees for winter food storage in the little harbor. I am watching his activity curiously, as last year certainly was an amazing indicator of the severity of the winter.
We all loved the costumes and music as we learned. Bobby Glenn Brown suggested in his review the show teaches us “the lessons of courage, unselfishness and wisdom live on stage that will help our children grow.”
August also featured a variety of camps sponsored by the Lake Superior Youth Theatre. Each camp was filled with special opportunities for the kiddos to grow and glow. We especially loved the grand finale of the Drama and Dreams camp, as the attendees presented their own version of The Sound of Music’s “So Long, Farewell” song. And then there was the Muppet madness. No, we cannot pick a favorite moment. They all were amazing, and the growth by campers and counselors spectacular. If you missed the camps this year, make sure to put it on your radar for next summer. Even those who don’t continue on in the arts gain skills. They gain self-confidence. They learn teamwork skills. They learn teaching skills. Sure it is educational, but most importantly, it is just too much fun.
The King Lear collaboration with the Westwood Shakespeare Company was phenomenal. Directed by Denise Clark, the show had been in rehearsal for months— and wow, did it show. B.G. Bradley was the star of the show as Lear, although everyone in the cast was fabulous.
Out-of-town visitors were delighted to find Shakespeare playing at Lake Superior Theatre, and quickly made plans to return next year if LST collaborates with WSC to do the Shakespearean comedy As You Like It. They were surprised to find such talent.
As You Like It is the exact opposite of Lear, short, silly and full of Elizabethan lyrics set to music. Between these two shows, our patrons will experience the full range of Shakespeare’s gifts for both tragedy and comedy. Stay tuned as we work on our 2015 season, and feel free to send us your thoughts and support for shows you want to see at lstplayhouse@gmail.com
We are well into the process of wintering the lights and sound system, carefully packing up the new digital sound system board and wireless mics for the Youth Theatre productions, taken down the enclosure (heartfelt thanks to Chuck Weinrick and Roger Bentlage who serve as crewmasters, Bob Stephenson and everyone who helps), put away the stuff we need to operate the concession stand, moved the chairs to the trailer at Fraco (thanks to Habitat for the transportation), picked up the blocks that make the enclosure floor and the concrete floors you sit on during the season, winterized and put the toilet trailer in storage, reinstalled the railway and, it seems at times, a zillion other things.
And in the midst of it all, a gale of November hit (on September 10, no less) and we watched in amazement as the always superior lake snapped steel plates and braces as if they were made of plastic. By the time the gales of November arrive, we usually have battened down the hatches at the boathouse. Our biggest problem was the car that sits on the railway broke loose and slid down the railway, off the tracks. Our hosta plants went swimming without life jackets, but a few brave souls rescued them during water level changes. Incredible as it seems, the waves were splashing against the door, well into the boathouse. Yes, that would have been the week to have been performing Holdin’ Our Own, Shelley Russell’s magnificent portrayal of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. 1410_arts_lst_barge
But, like our ancestors who woke up one morning early in Marquette’s history to find the dock they had completed the previous day gone, (Peter White reported to the townfolk: “Narry a twig remained”), we recovered the car and are rebuilding the docks. Living with the lake always is a blessing and a challenge. LST, too, is a challenge, but we are blessed with supporters who contribute time, talents and treasure so we can present our incredible seasons.1410_arts_lst_dock You can contribute also, online at lakesuperiortheatre.com, by saving your Econo Foods receipts or by designating Lake Superior Theater as your shopping partner at Amazon Smile. Amazon Smile is a program where Amazon donates 0.5 percent of the purchase price of eligible products to LST. More information is available at http://smile.amazon.com/about
My question for you is, what is on your theatre “bucket list?” What show do you want to see, or see again? What show have you heard about, but never had the opportunity to see? Is it time for us to bring back Points North, Life on the Fly, or one of your other original historical favorites?
We would love to hear from you. Send us your thoughts at LSTPlayhouse@gmail.com
Theatregoers are a unique breed; we love the magic of musicals and drama queen performances. We particularly enjoy LST, where we can walk out of a show to the beautiful blue water, watching the wind blowing life into the Ensign sailors. It is all about doing what you enjoy. Go explore. Go dream. Go discover. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it. And thank you for coming to the boathouse and filling the seats for our Superior season.
Your rich-in-LST family and friends and passionate supporters wish you a winter of warmth and love.
See you at the boathouse.
— Peggy Frazier

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