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Sunday, February 18, 2007


by Earl J. Wilcox

It was not a fancy venue for actors or audiences—
just an aging church building which long ago sent
away its parishioners, though leaving its pews intact.

This was not a show place where you might go
to look at the architecture or the artists. There
were no restrooms, no water fountains, not even
a backstage. On warm nights, audiences sweated
and actors swooned from perspiration rolling
down their faces. In cold weather, we huddled
together for warmth and to cheer on fledgling
acts or floundering plays. Yet, it was all we had—
a place where young actors could practice how to
project, and old actors learned whether they still
had nerve to try their lines for comedy or tragedy.

And now it’s gone. The community theatre burned
yesterday, to the ground, all around, with nothing
left but the stoic sign out front announcing the last
show. You would have to be an uncaring citizen not
to weep with the muses in this loss to our community.

Earl J. Wilcox founded The Robert Frost Review, which he edited for more than a decade. His poetry was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.