For the City Times
Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre presents “Shirley Valentine” starring Amanda Meidl and directed by Cathy Meils
She’s a 42-year-old middle class English housewife.
Stuck in a rut, frying chips and egg for her husband’s tea, she talks to the kitchen wall – “If the plate isn’t landin’ on the table just as his foot is landin’ on the mat, there’s ructions.” She contemplates life; her husband, her children, her past, and an invitation from a girlfriend to escape on a holiday to Greece. A holiday promising romance and adventure.
Shirley’s story is funny, endearing, and ultimately inspiring, as she reaches into our hearts and touches the part that still believes in dreams. Wisconsin Rapids Community Theatre (WRCT) is proud to be producing this wonderful script by Willy Russell. Amanda Meidl recently sat down with WRCT Executive Director Ellen Roeseler about undertaking something that most actors dream of but few have achieved.
What is it like to act in a one-woman show?
“Taking on a one-woman show is scary! — It’s just me; there’s no one else to support me onstage, there’s no one to work with or feed off of onstage. But I’m lucky to have an amazing director and a phenomenal group of supportive people just offstage. Without the six of them, I don’t know how I could do this.”
What do you want us to know about Shirley before we get to the theatre?
“Shirley’s a 42-year-old woman from Northern England, in the 80’s. The script, by Willy Russell, is hilarious and heart-warming. I think Shirley’s journey is relatable and relevant. It’s great fun, but not for little ones.” (That means there is language in the show which may be offensive to some; not much, but it’s there.)
You haven’t performed like this in a few years. What did you have to do to get back in the swing of things?
“I haven’t done anything of this magnitude, ever — And apart from “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” last year (which was a staged reading, meaning we had the scripts on stage), I haven’t done anything onstage in almost 10 years. It’s been frightening at times; I’ve certainly had many moments of self-doubt. But working with Cathy Meils has been like taking a Master Class. She is so incredibly knowledgeable, talented, and giving. I’m an educator by day and I am looking at this experience as a gift – I get to work with and learn so much from some really extraordinary people. I hope I can do justice to the script, and I hope I will make my WRCT family proud.”
Anything else you want us to know?
“Each night, I will be preparing chips and egg. I’ll be peeling, chopping, and frying potatoes in oil (and frying eggs) live on stage. Should be an adventure!”
“One of the greatest challenges for an actor is to take on a one-character play, said Director Cathy Meils. “Shirley Valentine is a tour de force for any actress brave enough to tackle it, and Amanda is not only living up to that challenge but exceeding our expectations.”
Shirley Valentine runs Feb. 9, 10, and 12 at the WRCT auditorium in the Centralia Center inside the Rapids Mall. Thursday and Friday performances are at 7:30 p.m. – Sunday’s performance is at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are $15 each and are available by calling the WRCT office at 715-421-0435, emailing the theatre at email@example.com, or at the door prior to the show. WRCT office hours are 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Tuesday – Friday.