Leta and I ran up for the weekend to Ephrata, Pa., to the Eastern States Theatre Association Festival, Leta serving as last-minute replacement techncian for Silver Spring Stage’s entry and I serving as driver and audience member. The Stage returned with an acting award (Toni as Mrs. Popov), while the excellent production of Daniel MacIvor’s Never Swim Alone from Port Tobacco Players (which we saw in Frederick, Md., in January) advanced to the national competition in Charlotte, N.C., this coming June.
The black-box performance space (comfortable, roomy) is built on the bones of a venerable summer stock venue (Ephrata is an easy drive from Philadelphia) organized by John Cameron in the 1950s. Lobby and backstage photos feature Roy Scheider, Dody Goodman, Hugh Reilly, and Stephen Sondheim. The Ephrata PAC now houses a community theater presenting a half-dozen productions yearly. The building is located in a park close to the city center, on the banks of Cocalico Creek.
Downtown Ephrata, in Pennsylvania Dutch country, doesn’t offer too many surprises, but the decorative brickwork ornamenting this pre-1900 building at the city’s zero-point is quite charming.