Zoom Anne of Green Gables

More than 110 years after the publication of Anne of Green Gables, Cascade Community Theatre is bringing the classic tale to life with the help of some recently popularized 21st century technology. 

As with so many things in 2020, this year’s holiday production for the Duvall theater will look a lot different from past shows. However, the new virtual format has opened unexpected new opportunities for the company. 

The cast of 23 adults and high school students includes an actor joining from Connecticut and an actress from the Philippines who will be performing in her first show ever, according to Martha Schuler, vice president of Cascade Community Theatre and producer of its Anne of Green Gables production. 

“I honestly was not expecting to have anybody outside of the state but having actors at such a distance definitely creates a few additional challenges,” Schuler said. “It does make things a little harder, but it’s rewarding at the same time.” 

The production, pre-recorded remotely using Zoom, will stream at 7 p.m. on Dec. 17-19. Tickets are $12 for a single viewer and are available at showtix4u.com/event-details/41200.  

This will be the theater’s first pre-recorded show since it went virtual with live-streamed “reader’s theatre” productions in April. 

Casting calls for the stage adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s novel about a plucky, red-headed orphan went out through Facebook, which is how word spread to the East Coast and Southeast Asia, Schuler said.  

In March, CCT had to cancel its youth theatre program, which is meant for elementary and middle school students to gain experience in all aspects of play production, according to the website. 

To keep the actors and community audience members engaged and entertained, CCT started reader’s theatre, which so far has streamed four one-act shows and one full-length production for free. It is open to adults and children and is meant to give more opportunities to those who might not normally have access to them, Schuler said. 

Two shows were just for youth actors and three included an all-ages cast. 

“We tried to make it a little more even and a little more fair,” she said. “We want to bring more people in and have more people have fun with us.” 

Anybody with access to a working webcam and some sort of audio recording capability are welcomed to join the shows, which are cast randomly using dice. 

“The actors had a really fun time doing it,” she said. 

However, the change in format and cancellation of the youth program have had a significant financial impact on the theatre, according to Schuler. She said the situation could have been worse since the group doesn’t have its own physical space and rent payments to continue making during shutdowns, but it has still had to make some cutbacks. 

“I know we have the ability to survive this year with less income,” she said. “If the overall shutdowns last … extend far into next year, I don’t know.” 

In addition to the show being a source of a little needed revenue, it’s also been a source of needed escape for those involved. 

“It can be a really big stress relief just having an outlet for people to see each other, even if it’s through a Zoom window,” Schuler said. “The cast of Anne of Green Gables have become pretty good friends through this, and most of them didn’t know each other before the first rehearsal.” 

More information can be found on Cascade Community Theatre’s Facebook page or by emailing info@cctplays.org 

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