Driftwood Players

"The Taming of the Shrew" March 1963

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Blandina Foster


From The Aberdeen Daily World, Wednesday, February 6, 1963

Shakespeare Not New To Harbor Audiences

The Driftwood Players are rehearsing their largest speaking cast to date for the hilarious play, "The Taming of the Shrew."

This will be the players' first try at a Shakespearean production, but Shakespeare is no stranger to Grays Harbor and Aberdeen.

In the eighteen-eighties, Shakespeare was frequently presented in Aberdeen's first theater, the Rink, at the present site of the Anderson-Middleton Mill. During a spectacular storm in 1890, the roof of the Rink Theater collapsed; but later in the same year J. M. Weatherwax built the Acme Opera House, which carried on the tradition for 13 years.

So intense was the desire of these pioneers for good theater that the Northern Pacific passenger train made special runs on play nights to provide transportation to the Acme Opera House in the eastern part of the county. Shops closed their doors and whole families boarded the train with sack lunches (some would not arrive home until 1 o'clock in the morning).

Eldridge Wheeler, then superintendent of Montesano schools, sponsored night classes to study the plots of the plays before performances. Outstanding companies like the Lyceum and those of E. H. Southern and David Warfield came to the Acme, playing a different Shakespearean play each of three nights. And every night the train delivered its load of enthusiastic patrons.

Among the regular patrons was J. E. Calder who was later to become mayor of Montesano, but who was at that time a dealer in horses. During a performance of "King Richard III," when King Richard cried. "A horse, a horse, My Kingdom for a horse," Mr. Calder was so caught up in the spirit of the play that he jumped to his feet and shouted: "Oh, King, I have just the horse you want." The audience howled, but true to tradition, the show went on.

When one of  the Driftwood Players was asked if he thought anything of the sort might happen March 1 when "The Taming of the Shrew" opens, he replied: "Anything can happen with 'theater in the round' just as it must have in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre where the audience was close the the players. Whatever happens, the performance is sure to be one of the most exiting presented by Driftwood Players, "I've never laughed more while rehearsing a play. Leading actors and minor characters alike are playing their roles to the hilt."

"The Taming of the Shrew" will open Friday, March 1, for four performances including a Sunday matinee each of two weekends. Students will be admitted to the matinees at a special rate.

From The Aberdeen Daily World, Saturday, February 23, 1963

'Taming Of The Shrew' Cast Now Completed

The Driftwood Players today announced the complete cast of "The Taming of the Shrew," which will open March 1 at the Driftwood Playhouse in Cosmopolis.

Petruchio, the male lead, will be played by the popular young math drama teacher of Ocosta High School, A. F. Daniewicz. A charter member of Driftwood, Daniewicz has directed four plays and has been manager and director of the Driftwood Summer Theater for the past three years.

In addition to serving as president, technical director and stage manager, he has played major roles in seven of the 16 Driftwood productions. He will be well remembered by harborites as Lt. Thomas Keefer in "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial."

Katherine, the shrew, has been double cast with Ruth Adamson of Montesano and Vicki Webber of Westport. Mrs. Adamson, who will be especially remembered for her performance as Nellie in "Summer and Smoke," is employed at the Montesano Drug Store.

Mrs. Webber has a full time job as the mother of four young children and confines most of her recreational activities to silk screening posters for the theater, reading and sewing. She has found time, however, to star in the Driftwood production of "Bell, Book and Candle" and play roles in six other productions. She also is a charter member of Driftwood and has been active in every phase of production, including that of company manager for "Angel Street."

The juvenile lead, Lucentio, is Alfred Perrson, a graduate of Grays Harbor College where he was active in drama. He is now employed as manager of oyster beds for the Coast Oyster Co. He has appeared in five previous Driftwood productions, including "Summer and Smoke" and "You Can't Take It With You,"

The "sweet" younger sister, Bianca, will be played by an associate member, Pamela Turk, a Weatherwax High School student, Miss Turk is active in Girl Scouts, YMCA, Rainbow, the Quinault staff, Students Luncheon Club and Debate Club. She was selected girl-of-the-month and personality-of-the-month in Ocean Breeze. She has acted in nine high school plays and this marks her third appearance at Driftwood.

A suitor of Bianca, Hortensio, is played by Rodney Payton, a graduate of the School of Music at Washington State University where he was active in both dramatic and musical productions. He is a member of the instrumental music faculty of the Aberdeen schools. Richard Giron is cast as Gremlo, another suitor of Bianca. He will be remembered for his portrayals of Noah in "The Rainmaker" and Lord Brockhurst in "The Boy Friend."

James Bail plays the cunning and clever Tranio, who so successfully deceives Bianca's father that he is given her hand. Ball is employed in the Grays Harbor County assessor's office. He has appeared in four other Driftwood plays and has had professional experience as a dinner club entertainer. He also has been assisting the costume chairman, his wife, Beverly Ball, upon whom the responsibility for 41 costumes has fallen.

Paul Miller is cast as the frantic father of Bianca and the shrew. He is a veteran Driftwood performer and a favorite of Harborites who have seen him in "Caine Mutiny," "Summer and Smoke," "Lily, the Felon's Daughter" and many others.

Phil Wacker, announcer and program director for KXRO, will play the confused father of one of the grooms. Wacker, who has played in so many of the community's musical and dramatic productions, is perhaps best remembered for his title role in "Finian's Rainbow."

Another professor in the play, although not cast as such, is Donald Butler, who teaches English and creative writing at Grays Harbor College. One of his students, Donald Barck of Montesano, is also in "The Shrew." In addition to being a full-time student, Barck holds a full-time position with the Northern Pacific Railroad.

Remembered from "The Rainmaker" and "Bell, Book and Candle"--although hardly recognizable as the mischievous Biondello -- is Sue Weldman, who teaches physical education at Miller Junior High.

Carolyne Landberg of Central Park is making her first appearance as the widow, while Doris Fultz, who will alternate in the role, has appeared in "Seven Nuns at Las Vegas" and "Christmas for Cinderella." Bessie Miller will play the lady in waiting. She also has been chief cobbler for the production, having completed more than 20 pairs of shoes to be worn by the players.

Standing by as understudies for any role in the play are Jane Mezera, Betty Gretsch, Bernice Oliphant, Margaret Tobey, Donna Payton, Dorcas Richardson and Louise Bigelow.

The cast of supporting players and musicians are volunteer apprentice players from Weatherwax High, Miller and Hopkins Junior Highs and St. Mary's Playing for both weddings will be a Weatherwax string quartet, composed of Mary Elizabeth Scott, Melanie Hancock, Shirley McInnis and John Wadell, and Stuart Childers of Hopkins and Ken White of Miller, John Enrico and Richard and Steven Rouska of Weatherwaz will be seen as guards.

Two teams of apprentice actors from Miller and Hopkins Junior High and St. Mary's are cast as Petruchio's merry men. From Hopkins are Jim Stangl, Gib Richards, Ken McClosky, Gary Lea, Jerry Newman and Stuart Childers. From Miller are Ed Van Syckle Jr., Steve Turk Jr., Ken White, David Bielski, Bill Grigsby, Glenn Rimisky, Bill Jameson and Ken Stiles, Bob Kegel is from St. Mary's.

The Hopkins-St. Mary's team will appear March 2, 3 and 8, and at the March 10 matinee, while the Miller students will play opening night, March 1, the evenings of March 9 and 10 and the March 3 matinee.

Tickets for all evening performances are available at Breck's in Cosmopolis, City Drug and Liberty Drug in Aberdeen, Bunker's Men's Store in Hoquiam, the Montesano Drug Store, from members of the cast and crew or by calling 268-3235 Westport.

Regular admission prices of $1.50 will prevail for all seats at evening performances and for adults at matinees. However, there will be a special matinee price of 75 cents for children and students who have activity cards. All matinee seats must be purchased at the door on a first-come-first-serve basis.

From The Aberdeen Daily World, Saturday, March 2, 1963

'Taming Of The Shrew' Exuberant Production


A well-chosen and dedicated cast, ably directed, gave a very creditable performance of Shakespeare's timeless comedy, "The Taming of the Shrew," last night at the Driftwood Playhouse in Cosmopolis.

Since the group's inception the Driftwood Players have presented a variety of theater fare. This was their first attempt at Shakespeare, however, and the little theater was packed for opening night with an audience eager to see what the local actors would do with the work of the bard.

Well, the spectators had about as much fun as the cast. And that was considerable. One of the most delightful aspects of the production in this writer's opinion was the exuberance of the players, who gave the impression of having a thoroughly enjoyable time.

To Miss Blandina Foster must go a lion's share of the credit, for her fine direction, distinguished by careful attention to detail and insight into the characters of the play.

The "Shrew" cast is a large one, and each actor -- even the bit player -- is important to the telling of the story.

Of course, the dominant characters are Petruchio, played by A. F. Daniewicz, and Katherine (Kate), played last night by Ruth Adamson.

And a fine, dashing, swashbuckling Petruchio was Daniewicz, a versatile actor who plays every role he undertakes with real zest.

Mrs. Adamson was a charming Kate, playing the shrew with a fire that belies her rather fragile type pf beauty.

Pamela Turk is Blanca. The role of Kate's younger sister doesn't demand a great deal from a girl as talented as Pam. Mainly, it calls for her to appear sweet and pretty as a contrast to Kate's shrewishness. And this Pam can do very well, too.

Al perrson was a most personable Lucentio, one of the fair Bianca's suitors. Jim Ball did a good job as the devious Trancio and Richard Giron was an amusing Gremio. Sue Weidman was delightful as the sprightly Biondello.

Paul Miller (Baptista), Rodney Payton (Hortesnio), Donald Barck (Grumio), Erling Olafson (a Pedant), Phil Wacker (Vinentio), all performed their roles with ease and understanding.

Rounding out the cast creditably were Bessie Miller, Donald W. Butler and Doris Fultz. In action, nonspeaking parts were John Enrico, Richard Rouska and Stephen Rouska.

Adding to the fun were a group of Miller Junior High students -- Ed Van Syckle Jr., Steve Turk Jr., Ken White, David Bielski, Bill Grigsby, Glenn Remiski and Bill Jamison -- as servants to Petruchio.

Background music for the feasting scene was provided by a string quartet composed of Shirley McInnis, Melanie Hancock, Mary Catherin Elizabeth Scott and Jean Waddell. Stu Childers and Ken White were the trumpeters.

All in all "The Taming of the Shrew" was a completely enjoyable theatrical experience. It was evident throughout the play that the director and all members of the cast had approached he production with a great love of the Bard of Avon and a sincere desire to interpret the unsurpassed genius of his playwriting to the very best of their ability.

The play will be presented again tonight and tomorrow night and next Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. A special matinee performance is scheduled for 2:30 o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

We recommend it not only to those who love Shakespeare -- but as well to those who just enjoy a good, rousing comedy.

From The Aberdeen Daily World, Friday, March 8, 1963

Production Of 'Shrew' Involves Large Staff

Production of the Driftwood Players' "The Taming of the Shrew" involves a total of 87 persons, 40 players or musicians and 47 who are engaged in direction, management, promotion and various other activities.

"The Shrew" goes into its second weekend of performances at 8:15 o'clock tonight in the Driftwood Playhouse in Cosmopolis.

Before she cast the play, Miss Blandina Foster assembled a corps of assistants headed by Jane Mezera as production manager. The book was assembled and held by Bernice Oliphant, Louse Bigelow, Margaret Tobey and Dorcas Richardson.

Rodney Payton, grace King and Richard Landberg were music advisers. Publicity was assembled and written by Norene Norquist, Dick Lane, Irene Niendorf, Mrs. Pat Bailey, Geri Lindsay, Louise Bigelow, Larry White, Lois Robson and Lou Ray.

Sue Weidman had charge of the distribution of tickets, Clinton Bush manages the front of the house and Wanda Turk decorated the lobby with pictures and posters obtained from Shakespearean theaters at Stratford-on-Avon, England, Stratford, Ont., Canada, and Ashland Ore. She also used scenes from the local production taken by Les Morgan and Harold Sheerer. First contact with the public was through the poster designed by Jill Ekar and adapted by Don and Vicki Webber.

"The Taming of the Shrew" is presented in a "unit set." Rearrangement of the structural elements with the addition of hangings and coats-of-arms furnish 12 interior and exterior scenes. Construction and decoration of the set was supervised by Betty Jean Gretsch. Paul Miller, A. F. Daniewicz, Al Perrson, Don Barck, Donna Payton, Rodney Payton and others worked in spare moments during rehearsal as well as attending various work parties.

One of  these attracted 21 people, many of whom went just to "help" or see what is going on (or maybe for the potluck supper). Some of them returned several times to finish projects they assigned themselves. Orv. Wiseman, Betty Barck, Larry White and Dave Donahoe were among them.

Harley Adamson, June Scott, Del Kay and Walton Butts designed and executed the marble benches which set the period and suggest the luxury of the times.

Beverley Ball, who last year painted murals of scenes from eight Shakespearean plays for the Driftwood auditorium, designed the wardrobe of 50-odd costumes for the 40 players. Construction of these costumes was by Jim Ball, Blanche Blake, Wanda Turk, Jane Mezera, Bessie Miller (all the shoes), Margaret Tobey, Ardith Bush, Betty Erickson, Carolyne Landberg, Mrs. Richard Kegel, Mrs. Joel Lea, Mrs. McCloskey, Beverly Nicholson, Donna Watson and Mrs. Ed Van Syckle. Several of this group alternate as dressers during the performances.

A touch of realism was added to the production by the carefully selected properties. Hand props, parts of the costumes or personal equipment, were furnished by the players; but such things as food and the effective table furnishings were provided by Donna Payton and members of her committee, Sue Wiedman, Mrs. Kegel, and others.

Illusion is heightened by the work of the make-up crew with Richard Robson as chairman. His assistants were Lois Robson, their daughter Mary, Jean Grigsby, Jill Ekar and Sandra Womack. The number and variety of beards used made this one of the most interesting projects ever undertaken in the theater. Very strict organization of the crew is responsible for its success.

Betty Jean Gretsch, a stage manager, is responsible for the smooth operation of any performance. Her assistants are John Enrico, Richard Rouska and Stephen Rouska, invisible because they change scenes in the dark.

The result of all this work would be lost without the light crew, Max Moisanen and Dave Donahoe. They arrange that the audience shall see all, but woe to them or any other technician whose work claims the eye after the lights come on. All the planning and the work is done to support the players in their conviction that "the play's the thing..."

A late check of ticket outlets indicates that most of the 146 seats are sold for the Friday and Saturday performances of "The Taming of the Shrew." There are a few for Sunday evening and Sunday matinee. Students are admitted to the matinee for 75 cents and their activity tickets.

All tickets for any performance that do remain will be on sale at the box office of the Driftwood Theater in Cosmopolis this evening.

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