Looking to give the county an early taste of summer, MidValley Theatre Company is holding auditions for “Belle of Bisbee,” a Fourth of July melodrama set in the wooly west in the late 1800s.
The action of the rollicking two-act centers on Belle Wallaby, an Arizona teacher who is about to lose both her school and her home. Tom Good is an ordinary miner turned hero, intending to rescue Belle as well as the local children, who desperately need the school. Naturally, a dark secret and a dastardly villain stand in the way.
“It’s a great follow-up to the full-length very structured classic murder mystery we did in the fall,” said director Kate Loftus. “This is going to be fun, short and playful; it includes more young people and it invites audience participation.”
The Tim Kelly play includes parts for four men, five women and two teen girls, plus extras for townspeople and ensemble parts. Loftus plans to augment the action with music and dance numbers, and include an intermission that evokes a festive outdoor picnic mood central to the plot. The play will also feature period costumes.
“Exaggerated ‘good versus evil’ and ‘black hats versus white hats’ plays have been around for a long time,” Loftus said. “Guilds did this style of play even back in the middle ages. It’s very cathartic and definitely all about entertainment.”
MidValley Theatre also recently received a grant from the Wallowa County Cultural Trust Coalition. Continuing with the warm-weather theme, the group plans to use those funds to stage an original adaptation of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” later this year.
The nonprofit is in the process of forming an advisory board with plans to explore the possibility of establishing a dedicated performing arts facility that will act as MidValley Theatre’s home and provide a venue for other groups.
Info: Kate Loftus 541-569-2302.
IF YOU GO
Open auditions for “Belle of Bisbee” will be 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 4-6 at the Lostine Presbyterian Church in Lostine.