by Nancy Holley
Creativity is alive and well with the Visalia Players during a pandemic that has required sheltering in place, wearing masks, and social distancing.
Producers, directors, and writers—Becca Coffey-Godfrey and Jennifer Masters—inspired by a love of Halloween and a desire to bring entertainment into our lack-luster lives, put out a call for actors to embody the history of the Ice House Theatre, the Players permanent home since 1976.
For years, Timmy, our resident ghost, has been, in theory, responsible for all unexplained events which frequently occur at the theatre. Coffey-Godfrey and Masters, more recent members of the Players than those of us who have been around for decades, believe Timmy is not alone. In fact, they are certain a cadre of ghosts watch over us and maintain our history.
They decided for Halloween to invite a Documentarian to film our resident spirits who have taken over the theatre with their own productions during our months of darkness. According to Coffey-Godfrey, “Doing a video seemed like a logical, practical way to allow actors to maintain social distancing and still bring Halloween fun and theater to the community.”
One miracle of the production is that the apparitions agreed to be visible on film. Normally, their auras would never permit such a violation of their privacy. However, since Halloween is such a special time, and their stories are so important to the organization, they have agreed to make an exception.
To provide human substance, each spirit will speak through an actor familiar to Players’ audiences: Rosalinda Alexander, Becca Coffey-Godfrey, Donny Graham, Velva Hampson, Debra Hansen, Rob Hansen, Caitlin Hill, Keith Lindersmith, Hillari Loeffler, Jennifer Masters, and Karl Schoettler.
Each actor was introduced to his/her spirit only recently and each had to be a quick study to learn to speak the spirit’s words with authenticity. Each ghost was very particular about which body to invade for the evening. He/she wanted to feel comfortable and protected in their altered state.
The identity of the Documentarian is a bit of a mystery. Even Coffey-Godfrey and Masters are secretive about his/her identity. Suspicions abound. Perhaps the documentarian is known to one or more of the spirits and is fearful that his/her identity would prevent the spirit’s appearance. Perhaps the spirits have agreed to tell their stories only to a specific, special person, but don’t want that person’s identity revealed to the public. Perhaps . . . ?
Watch the video Friday, October 30 (it will be posted at 6 p.m.), on Facebook @visaliaplayers/Visalia Players at the Ice House Theatre or on Instagram @visaliaplayers to learn the history of the Visalia Players in the Ice House Theatre through its resident ghosts and perhaps the identity of The Documentarian.
Check out even more local theatre reviews & articles (including more streaming Halloween shows) in our Arts & Entertainment section!
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, Spotify and Google Podcasts, and also on podbean.