By Joseph Pratt
June 7, 2014
The first article I ever wrote was for a performing arts company, and since then, I’ve been very dedicated to covering the local art scene. I was already active in local theatre and music, prior to being an arts writer, but quickly found myself wanting to be more and more involved with visual art as well. Being an arts writer has been a fun experience and I’m proud to say that I’ve dedicated myself to every outlet in the area.
The only artistic outlet I haven’t covered much of is the Portsmouth Little Theatre (PLT). The reason I chose not to cover them in the past was for no other than that I served as an active board member and anything I wrote would be considered biased.
I recently made the decision to leave the board. This will relieve any ties I have with the art community and I’ll be able to serve as an unbiased and reclusive arts writer.
I look forward to working with the PLT artists in a different capacity in upcoming years. PLT will always hold a special place in my heart, and as I cut ties with them, I wanted to do so with a column.
Most locals have had the chance to see what happens on the stage at PLT at least once, but they don’t see the commitment and dedication that happens behind the curtains. The theatre is completely held together by a board, but none are more responsible than three people, Leigh Anne Smith, Jason Chaney and Michael Stapleton. There are many other people responsible for keeping the theatre alive, but without these three, there wouldn’t be much of a theatre.
Chaney’s talent goes far beyond his work on the stage; he is one of the most talented set designers I’ve ever met. He creates sets and pieces that are breathtaking out of odds and ends from around the theatre, like a recyclable artistic genius. Stapleton is one of the strongest acting talents the theatre has, but is also very important in keeping the theatre organized and isn’t afraid to say what needs to be said to get things accomplished. Smith is the heart that every theatre wishes they had. She cares more about the theatre than probably anyone else involved. She has served in many capacities for the theatre and has tirelessly worked to make each show fantastic and each year better than the last.
The level of artistic value each show has at PLT is astounding and only continues to get better. I encourage everyone to check out their shows.
The upcoming production of “ART” is fantastic. I sat and watched a rehearsal several weeks ago and I would have paid money to see it in its current state at the time, and they’ve since had many rehearsals to build upon. The show is the directorial debut of friend Kasie Leightenheimer. Leightenheimer is one of the strongest actresses that I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching on a local stage and I look forward to seeing what work she does as a director.
“ART,” by Yasmina Reza, will be coming to the Portsmouth Little Theatre on June 6, 7, 13 and 14. Show times are 7:30 p.m. with box office opening at 6:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are available at www.pltlive.com or can be purchased at the box office. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $12 at the door for everyone else.
Break legs, friends at PLT.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times at 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.