By: Pat Winter

The Carolina Moon Theater (CMT) completed another successful theater production last week with its presentation of “The Wild Women of Winedale.” I had a chance to catch up with the five AP women who had roles in this production. All were enthusiastic about the experience and eager to share what made them choose the stage as a leisure time pursuit.

Linda Kruegel, an actress for the second time on the Carolina Moon stage, played one of the leading roles as Willa, the younger of the two Wild sisters. Linda’s challenge was memorizing an unusually large number of lines and to bring those lines live onto the stage, a task that at times seemed overwhelming.

For several weeks, play preparation and rehearsals took over most of Linda’s daily life. While she admits the commitment was huge, she repeatedly mentioned how much fun she had. Linda also felt strongly about the very special relationships she developed with her fellow actresses; they had to depend on each other, find their strengths, and work together to bring the Wild sisters’ story alive.

This was also Sherry Lester’s second time on the Carolina Moon stage, portraying Johnnie Faye, the “quirky, funny, and ridiculous” Wild sisters’ widowed sister-in-law. Sherry agreed that the number of lines she needed to memorize exercised and challenged her brain and made her spend time rehearsing every day.

Like Linda, Sherry feels a very special bond with the other performers and is very proud of herself for successfully mastering her lines. She admitted her role was made “just for me,” as she found herself falling easily into Johnnie Faye’s drama queen role. “I pushed myself to become that person, and it was a neat feeling to say I did it. And it was a lot of fun!”

This was Nancy Motycka’s first time gracing a stage since high school. Nancy played Fanyy, the third leading role as the older of the Wild sisters. She agreed this role was pretty easy for her to slide into because she can be overly dramatic just like her character. But she especially liked the challenge of becoming someone else and bringing that character to life.

Nancy admits she had been enjoying the leisurely pace of retired life and might never have tried out for a theater role had her sister Charlene Finamore not volunteered her. “I would do it again,” Nancy comments. “It was a great experience.” She also stressed how well she, Sherry, and Linda worked together on stage in a very special way.

In this group of five AP thespians, Mary Sue Reiger had the most experience with the Carolina Moon Theater, having taken on major roles in four plays over the last few years. In this play, Mary Sue has a sidelight cameo, in which her character shares a secret with her twin. The play has five of these short soliloquys. Interspersed in each act, they highlight an event that changed the speaker’s life.

Although this part was not a big one for Mary Sue, she was busy for months behind the scenes in preparation for this production. Along with AP resident Mary Sheys, she repainted the background panels, called flats, redesigning them specifically for this play. Mary Sue has also organized the theater’s costumes and painted the lobby area in their new building. “It takes a village to get a production ready,” says Mary Sue. “It’s a community within our community and a great therapy place for all of us.”

Mary Sue’s love for the theater even convinced her husband to get involved. He helped build sets and organized The Shot in the Dark Golf Tournament, a CMT fundraiser. And when Mary Sue’s sister moved to the Hertford area, it didn’t take long for Mary Sue to introduce her to the theater community.
Victoria “Torie” Butler is another AP thespian performing on the Carolina Moon stage for the first time in her return to the stage since junior high school. Like Mary Sue, Torie brought to the audience a short soliloquy with a surprising and heart-touching twist. This was the perfect role for Torie because, like her character, she was separated from her mother at an early age and reunited many years later.

Torie commented that everyone working both on the stage and behind the scenes was “amazingly fun and really cool.” She plans to audition again for a part in a Carolina Moon Theater production.

Although she was not an actress in this play’s production, I would be remiss not to mention the contributions of AP resident Lynne Raymond, the play’s executive producer and director. Lynne ably brought this play to the stage in her first-time role as play director. Lynn has been involved in the Carolina Moon Theater group since its beginning in 2012. Other AP residents who worked behind the scenes were Skip Fisher (Lights & Sound), Linda Kaul (Stage Manager), and Cindy Williams (Refreshments Chair).

If our AP thespians have sparked your interest in getting involved with the CMT, don’t hesitate to contact Lynne via email or call 426-5102.