Casey Williams (left) and Molly Berger appear in "Thompson Street," one of three plays that will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Kenlake State Resort Park. Twilight Theatre Productions, which stages the performances, offers aspiring actors an opportunity to get professional theater experience over the summer.
Molly Berger (left) and Casey Williams appear in "Thompson Street," one of three plays by Charles Messina that Twilight Theatre Productions will stage this weekend at Kenlake State Resort Park. Twilight Theatre's directors seek to expose the public to original plays while giving young actors an opportunity to learn about professional theater.
An abandoned schoolhouse, a smorgasbord restaurant, an old shoe factory — none of these is a place you’d expect to see a professional theater troupe perform.
But Twilight Theatre Productions has managed to stage performances at all these locations, and more, over the past 46 years.
“You have to be very creative, and you have to adapt to your surroundings,” Artistic Director Charles Hall said. “Wherever we are, we absorb the energy of that space and create it from there.”
Hall, who first acted with the company when he was a freshman at Murray State University, said they’ve performed almost everywhere he can think of — except on a boat. While Hall said creating a theatrical atmosphere in such venues as a tennis court was part of the fun for him, he admits he’s glad to have settled into the nonprofit theater’s current home at Kenlake State Resort Park.
Kenlake will be the site of the last weekend of performances for Twilight Theatre Production’s summer season. The show features three original pieces by New York-based playwright Charles Messina.
Hall described the three plays — “Thompson Street,” “Lilac,” and “Fugazy” — as contemporary comedies with universal themes. From an unexpected meeting of two friends to a young man who visits his deceased father’s rural Kentucky home, the characters and situations presented in the plays are human and relatable, Hall said.
Shirley Teach Johnson, producer and director, said Twilight Theatre Productions was founded in 1967 to give her Murray State University students a chance to be part of a professional acting company.
Students from regional schools such as MSU, University of Tennessee-Martin, and Western Kentucky University continue to be featured in the theater’s productions, Johnson said.
Aside from giving young actors an opportunity to perform, Twilight Theatre also seeks to introduce original work from playwrights based across the United States to the region.
“We’re very particular about what we offer, what we direct,” she said. “No one else (in this area) is doing this.” Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the curtain will go up at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Kenlake State Resort Park, 542 Kenlake Road. The show will last for no longer than an hour and a half. For more information or reservations, contact Twilight Theatre Productions at 270-436-2399.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641 or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.