In the Wings
T he Newsletter of The Concord Players
May 2020                         Amanda Casale, Editor 
If you are one of the Concord Players Costume Divas how do channel your creative talents when the theatre is dark? The answer has been quite clear: sewing masks to help out during the pandemic.

Linda Burtt put a hold on learning lines for the Concord Players' upcoming production of Steel Magnolias and turned her energy right away into sewing masks for friends and family, as well as two dozen masks to Park Ave Health Center in Arlington. 

Diva Kathy Booth is putting her prodigious fabric stash to good use and has literally sewn hundreds of masks mostly for friends and friends of friends in the Concord and Carlisle area as well as for family around the country.

Pat Kane has enlisted the talents of her 7-year-old granddaughters, who are visiting her from Bali in her mask-making endeavors. Though the volume from the novice sewers is modest, the future of the sewing craft is looking good.

Carol Antos has been sewing masks for her family and friends as well as for a Covid-19 testing unit at a hospital in Maryland. She's made many colorful (even sparkly!) masks for children as young as 3. 

And Tracy Wall's sewing talents have stretched to her sister's hospital floor at Yale New Haven. Tracy has sewn 60 covers for regular surgical masks and another couple of dozen to cover the precious/scarce N95 that the medical staff are coveting. The masks and covers are a hot commodity, scooped up within minutes of arrival.
Derek Elliott Till died peacefully at Carleton-Willard Village in Bedford on April 21, 2020. He was 97. 

Derek was born in Southampton, England, in 1922. During the war, the Royal Air Force sent the young man to Canada for flight training. In 1944, he flew 35 risky bomber trips into Germany and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery. While he was in North America for flight training, he met Mary Berna, an American writer from Cleveland. When the war was over, they met again in England and got married. After he obtained his chemistry degree from the University of London, they moved to the United States - settling right here in Concord. Derek thrived for 34 years at the consulting firm Arthur D. Little in Cambridge, where he worked on a variety of product development projects. 

The Concord Players was a second home for Derek for more than half a century. He acted in nine productions and did what he liked to do best - set design - for 15 others. His set for the Bicentennial play won a Moss Hart award. He championed our participation in the annual EMACT competition at Brandeis, where he acted in five such submittals over the years - winning Best Actor for his role in The Browning Version. 

In 1926 Samuel Merwin authored Old Concord: As Seen Through Western Spectacles, inspiring the name for what came to be known as the "Order of the Western Spectacles". For several years a pin from which a pair of old spectacles was suspended was given to Concord Players members who did work above and beyond their line of duty, and a ceremony took place at the annual Frolic every year. Derek was a member of this Order along with other previous milestone members of the Concord Players.

In 1995, two years after Mary's death, Derek married Pat Butcher, an accomplished actress, director, and costume designer with the Players. He changed her name to Patricia Till, and they worked happily together on three plays here before retiring to Carleton-Willard Village. Over there they continued their theatrical pursuits until Patricia passed away in 2016. 

Derek is survived by his three children Stephen, Alison and Peter Till; and by his three stepchildren John, Ben and Amy Butcher. (A complete obituary appears in the May 7 edition of the Concord Journal.)
Due to the pandemic, several of our Centennial events will be rescheduled for later this year . Please stay tuned for updates!  
BIG SHOUT-OUT to Carol Antos and Mike Lague for providing you, our avid audience, more ways of enjoying remote theatre.  

Announcing the "Theatre at Home" calendar, our gift to you! With many live shows and concerts postponed or cancelled, arts organizations around the world are streaming lots of events for free. So many events, in fact, that it can be difficult to remember what is airing where and when!

Mike Lague has developed a "Theatre at Home" calendar so you can more easily choose which performance you'd like to view. We've included listings from the worlds of theatre, music, dance, and even Cirque de Soleil! You'll find the color-coded calendar on our website. We'll keep adding to this page as we learn of more offerings, so be sure to check back often. If you'd like us to add a new listing, please email us.
The time was 1603, the place London England. Queen Elizabeth I had just died and King James the VI has ascended the throne. We are in the era of Shakespeare and some of his greatest works are about to be written: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. However, this is also a time of great sorrow and fear as the Plague stalks the streets and alley ways of London. Although this was only the beginning of what would ultimately become the Great Plague many decades later, Londoners were still under quarantine and the theaters were closed. And yet, and yet, brilliance, creativity and genius prevailed. 

As we revel in these remarkable plays that came from the mind of one the greatest wordsmiths of the English language, we are treated to a smorgasbord of some of the baser human emotions that consumed these characters. We can all take great solace in the fact that we live now and not then and hopefully are all a bit better put together than the protagonists of these great dramas. Our challenge now is to take these moments of solitude and the extra space we have in our lives and channel our innate creativity and drive to keep our art alive as we soldier on through the shelter at home directives. I have seen people from disparate locales gather virtually to share stories, to express themselves in song both individually and collectively, and to dance with such disciplined abandon that one must still applaud. The dedication to and love for theatrical story telling is what binds our community together. We are blessed to have this Concord theater and the support of our members and subscribers to help succor us while we wait our turn in the wings to return to the boards. The lights may be dimmed for now, but all of our turn to shine again is just around the corner and something good is coming!

--Jay Newlon, President
On March 23, 2020, John Campbell Butman, 69, a very special friend of the performing arts, died suddenly of natural causes in Portland, Maine. 

John lived much of his life in Concord. In November 1972, he appeared on the Players stage as Ready-money Matt in Three Penny Opera. The following summer he directed a special production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, co-produced by his pal Jim O'Brien and Jim's fiancée Norma Elfner. For two years, John served as the first 51 Walden Operations Manager - working out of a shabby space upstairs which he would help remodel into an attractive dance studio. 

Bicentennial fervor in 1975 led to his creation of The Concord Conscience, a traveling multi-media presentation that depicted life in Concord from early times to the present. That was also the year he directed the Players' production of A Streetcar Named Desire; driven by his personal love of sound design, he enhanced unforgettably the fabric of Tennessee Williams' already rich sound plot. Four years later, he returned to direct Molière's challenging pretentious satire Learned Ladies. Rick Frese, who played Vadius, recalls that John was a first-rate director who unified every aspect of that production, while maintaining a charming sense of humor and inspiring admiration from cast and crew. 

Professionally, John was all of these: filmmaker, literary agent, consultant, and author. He is survived by his wife of forty-three years, Nancy (Hill) Butman, and by his sons, Jeremy and Henry.

At this juncture, "The World's a Stage Players" is still moving forward with their planned summer production of Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It, directed by Nicholas Meunier, but will be monitoring recommendations closely.

After the wonderful reception summer Shakespeare has received over the years, the summer troupe decided to formalize its identity at the Concord Players with their new name.  "The World's a Stage Players" are excited to announce that they will continue Concord Players' 100th season with their 8th outdoor Shakespeare production at the Concord Free Public Library. 

The pastoral tale of lost souls in Shakespeare's fictional Forest of Arden will draw inspiration from the real Ardennes Forest of France and the Lost Generation of men and women who struggled through the displacement of World War I. It is a play about the redemptive power of love, full of the whimsy, farcical mistaken identity, and word play that make Shakespeare's comedies so fun. It is an outdoor play and a summer play that is not to be missed when the weather turns warm again! Stay tuned for exact dates and times.
Are you tired of being cooped up inside with no place to apply your great talent at building and construction? Looking for a way to contribute to the community and help an historic non-profit get back on its feet? Looking for a place where you can meet some remarkably talented fun people who you'd be happy to call your friends? Well, have we got the answer! Concord Players is looking to expand its pool of volunteers to help design and build sets for the 2020-21 season. We have some great shows coming up that are going to allow for some amazing venues to be created ranging from a transatlantic ocean liner to a well- appointed library to dozens of locations in early 19th century England. If you're handy with power tools and have a little extra time, we'd love to talk to you! For more information please contact Allen Bantly.

All membership books for 2019-2020 have been mailed.  If you did not receive yours, please contact Corinne so she can help rectify this issue .

In compliance with the Governor's order, 51 Walden will be closed through noon on Monday, May 18th.  At this point all events have been cancelled through June.

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