“Waiting in the Wings” was specially chosen by Jim Crisp for his last project as Theatre Macon’s founding artistic director.
The play opens at the downtown venue Friday. With its final May 27 performance, Crisp hands his title to Richard Frazier.
Crisp’s reasoning for selecting “Waiting in the Wings” was something like this:
It’s by Noel Coward — always a good choice, so there’s that.
It’s about actors and theater — Crisp’s lifelong love, so check that box.
Admittedly, he said, it’s because it’s about aging — life after retirement when the bulk, but not all, of one’s doings are done.
And, he said, it offers a showcase for veteran actors he has worked with through the years who, like him, are in life’s older stage.
“Ultimately, I chose it because it’s such a good play, one often overlooked,” Crisp said. “We did it once before, 17 years ago, because of its quality and the fact it had never been done here. We’ve always striven to bring quality theater to Macon and sometimes that means bringing little known gems as well as widely popular productions. But I did choose it finally because of who I could cast. All but two are people I’ve worked with before, some many, many times.”
In a sense, Crisp said, “Waiting in the Wings” brings his work in Macon full circle. A Noel Coward play was Crisp's first production in Macon, and, for example, Nan Solomon and Natalie Barfield were in it. They are now in “Waiting.” Crisp said they were among his very first friends in Macon.
“I could say so much about all the cast, and as I’ve watched rehearsals I’ve thought again and again of the joy and friendships we’ve shared,” he said. “This is a play about theater and about actors, so it makes for a meaningful reunion for many of us and a celebration of work we’ve done and loved. And it’s a farewell.”
However, unlike the play’s characters, Crisp said he isn’t moving to an actor’s retirement home in the country or even leaving Macon. He said he will remain involved in Theatre Macon and on its board.
“ ’Waiting in the Wings’ is a marvelous play and beautiful production, and I hope people come for that reason alone,” Crisp said. “But I’d also love for all my friends and the friends and patrons of Theatre Macon and theater in general to come see this last performance. It caps 32 years of such great memories and is a bit of a gift back for all the years and the marvelous, extraordinary life Macon has given me.”
"Waiting in the Wings"
Where: Theatre Macon, 438 Cherry St.
When: 8 p.m. May 18-19, 2:30 p.m. May 20, 7:30 p.m. May 24, 8 p.m. May 25-26, 2:30 p.m. May 27
Information: 478-746-9485, www.theatremacon.com