Saturday, October 11, 2008

Community organizers of a theatrical type

Chris and I are community theatre organizers. It's not quite as impressive as being community organizers. Those people are doing God's work as they assist the homeless, feed the hungry and enfranchise disenfranchised voters. Community theatre organizers may never feel the sting of a Sarah Palin putdown (even though she is quite theatrical). Community organizers. Harumph. Harumph.

But those folks at the soup kitchen and us have one thing in common -- we volunteer our time and talent to a good cause. It's possible that Palin does the same thing in Alaska. Does anyone know? It would be ironic if Palin had been a community organizer of a conservative sort and was making fun of them at the same time.

Community theatre organizers are also volunteers. We donate our time as ushers, waitrons, ticket takers, board members, fund-raisers, tech staff and even actors for the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players. Last night, Chris and I were ushers for "Oliver!" It was a sold-out house, and we were pretty busy for an hour or so. The play seemingly has a cast of thousands, mainly the kids who play the characters in the workhouse ("Food! Glorious Food!") and on the street. When you have kids in the cast, you get an audience of parents and grandparents and siblings and aunts and uncles and friends. You get volunteers, too. Our two kids have been involved in CLTP productions. One of our fellow ushers has a daughter in the play. Two of the other volunteers are local community college students who've been in scores of CLTP productions, including the very entertaining Cheyenne Old-Fashioned Summer Melodrama, where I volunteer as an emcee and Chris as a waitron. Almost all of us summer people are volunteers, which enables the CLTP to use the melodrama as its largest annual fund-raiser.

What do we get out of it? A grand old feeling that we're supporting one of the oldest community theatre groups (79th season) west of the Mississippi. It's fun, too. We get to see old pals and make new ones. Baby Boomers rapidly approaching geezerhood get to work with young people, who are surprisingly tolerant of our doddering ways. We don't tell them this (maybe we should), but they teach us more than we teach them.

So, don't let Sarah Palin get your goat. Go out and volunteer in your community today. Remember that community is made up of all kinds of people. Last night, as I was handing our programs to hundreds of Laramie County citizens, I wondered how many were voting for McCain-Palin. How many will I see today as I'm handing out fliers for the Democratic Party's U.S. Senate candidates? Will they be as affable today to this community political organizer as they were last night to this community theatre organizer?

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