Professor Fernando Perez
October 20th, 2014
Village Theatre, Issaquah On opening day of Village Theatre’s Once On This Island, I sat backstage in the dressing room with my eyes fixed on the clock, waiting and watching the second hand tick continuously. It was only five minutes before the first act began. I could feel my heart thumping at an alarming pace and I looked down to see my hands shaking frantically. Through the monitor, I heard the audience making quiet conversation in anticipation for the show to start.
Usually, I’m not that nervous, but it was different that time because I was finally playing a main role. After three years of being in the background, I began to be noticed more. Suddenly, I heard a voice blare through the monitor, ordering everyone to get in places for the beginning of Act 1. As I walked to the stage, the suspense continued to build up inside of me. Get over yourself, Dylan. You’ve done this before and you can do it again, I said silently. Now there’s one main reason why I decided to undertake theatre, and that’s because I love to entertain.
From personal experience, I know that Village Theatre is truly professional with the process of every production. When I joined, I found every single actor and production member to be excellent at what they do. Even though it is very professional, Village Theatre still gives you a great opportunity to connect with fellow actors and form friendships. Not long after I joined, I became friends with someone who I can now call one of my closest friends, Emma Bentsen. She became a part of this theatre about three years ago, and along with many other actors, she agrees that Village Theatre sets the bar really high, even for the youth program. “Nothing can really compare to Broadway productions, but we definitely are really lucky to have this great theatre in Issaquah with such a high level of professionalism,” she recently told me. Even though Emma is only in the youth program, she still gets a glimpse of what being in a main stage production is like. “It seems as if they treat the Kidstage actors almost exactly how they treat the Main Stage actors,” she says, “And everyone there is so fun to work with! It’s such a safe environment and I can’t think of any actor at Village Theatre that I don’t enjoy being around!” Village Theatre’s Main Stage, also known as the “Francis J. Gaudette Theatre” is located on Front Street in Issaquah, Washington, right next to Fins Bistro. It opened in 1994, and was essentially and upgrade from the first stage. The main stage has a lobby with concessions and a box office, an overall seating area of 480 seats including the upstairs balcony seats, and three rooms upstairs used as practice rooms for the actors. Over the past 35 years, Village Theatre has put on nearly 200 different shows, not including shows done by the Kidstage/First Stage. Since it’s opening, the Main Stage has built up a fairly substantial reputation, grabbing the attention of many people throughout the North-West. Some productions created at Village Theatre have even made it to Broadway, such as “The Producers” and “Next to Normal”. Overall, Village Theatre has become pretty successful for an average-sized theatre in Washington. Before the Francis J. Gaudette Theater had opened in 1994, the original Village Theatre stage stood just a few buildings down the street. This stage, originally named “Issaquah Theatre” was first used as a place for “Vaudeville shows, recreation, education, community gatherings and movies”, up until 1979 when the theatre reopened as “Village Theatre: First Stage”. For 15 years, First Stage, which included a “raked 220-seating area”, was home to all of Village Theatre’s programs and production. Now unfortunately, if you flash-forward to 2007, the building no longer met the new City of Issaquah codes, and was forced shut down. But after reconstruction, First Stage was restored to a fully functioning facility. Once