Golden Chain Theatre Online Melodrama

Jul 15, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Theatre

by Michael Van Buren

The Golden Chain Theatre is known for its summer melodramas. Since 1967, audiences have been booing, cheering, and enjoying free popcorn. But what was to happen in the summer of 2020 when gatherings of family and friends were not happening? How could we make sure that our patrons continue to smile beneath their masks?

Playwright Leonard Brown writes:

The idea was to create a custom melodrama that pertains specifically to our local area. Admittedly, there’s a lot of ‘blarney’ and local tall tales involved: but there are plenty of actual historical references- “Easter eggs”, in the parlance of our times- for longtime residents to discover. Additionally, several of the characters are modeled after my own ancestors, who were original Sugar Pine settlers.

We had a great plan-blocking had been discussed, an epic fight scene had been planned, a sawmill was about to be built, it was to be a fantastic ‘In house’ production, designed to honor our local legends.


That didn’t happen. Since we couldn’t perform on stage and didn’t want to disappoint our audience, a serial melodrama was the next best thing. We had to be creative; SO- I rewrote the script with a television presentation in mind. We consulted others on practical effects on camera. We had a fight choreographer to rework the excitement of the final scenes into the format we were working with. We studied videos from stunt people and researched camera angles and tricks of the trade. We really feel that the finished product, despite the challenges, was amazing. Our actors stepped up, thought outside the box, and ‘left it all on stage’, as we say in the theater. It was an amazing effort and a new experience for all of us.

We encourage everyone to go to the Golden Chain Theatre Facebook page, catch up on previous episodes, and join us Friday night, live at 7 p.m. for the final chapter. We put in hundreds of hours of work to make sure we didn’t break our tradition of FIFTY FOUR YEARS of Melodrama, no matter what.

In order to continue that tradition in the future, our theater needs the help of the community. We are asking our friends and patrons to become a Chain Link: A link in the chain to Save The Golden Chain. A very small monthly donation from our patrons will help insure that this half century of tradition survives. More information is available on our website: as well as on our Facebook page.

Thanks again from everyone at GCT and we hope you’ll join us on Facebook, Friday nights at 7 p.m. until we can be back on the stage.

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can check the podcast out on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, Spotify and also on podbean.

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.


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