By BRUCE COLLIER
In large structure that looks partly like a fellowship hall and partly like a bus barn, the No Limits Theatre Company has been making a permanent home for itself. The theatre, founded months ago, is made up of members of the community of all ages and degrees of experience. Many are also clients of The Arc of Walton County. The director of the company (and of its upcoming production, Fire Burn!) is Nancy Hasty. Hasty and her actors and theatre artists are dividing their time between rehearsals and refitting their space to serve as a 100-seat, black box-style theatre house.
The company has been hanging black drapery all around the space – following a false start when they discovered that what they had been hanging was not flame-retardant cloth. They have since procured safe cloth, along with lights and even gels (colored plastic sheets positioned on instruments to vary the color of the light). Company member Cole Ward assumed the role of armorer, and has been crafting stage weapons and armor for some of the scenes. Cleopatra has a luxuriously upholstered chaise on which to rest her royal self.
Fire Burn! is a collage of scenes from nine plays by William Shakespeare, including comedies, tragedies and romances. Audiences will see scenes between Macbeth and the witches that tempt him to murder and usurpation, between Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Tybalt’s fatal duel, Nick Bottom’s encounter with the Fairy Queen, among others. One actress will also recite one of the sonnets.
At the head of the action will be Shakespeare’s patroness, Queen Elizabeth I, played by Ann Robinson. At a recent rehearsal, Robinson was presented with a handcrafted scepter with which to rule her stage. The company is doing scene work this week, going into full runthroughs and technical rehearsals.
Hasty keeps the company together during rehearsals, and actors are encouraged to keep their heads in the game by standing in the wings, watching and learning from their colleagues, offering encouragement and applause along the way. The play is swift-moving from the start, with a flowing pace that keeps the action moving from scene to scene.
No Limits’ production of Fire Burn! will be Sunday, April 6, at 3 p.m., at The Arc of Walton County, 1408 North 9th Street, DeFuniak Springs. Space is limited, and audiences are asked to call (850) 368-8953 for reservations. Donations will be gratefully accepted.
By BRUCE COLLIER