Saturday I rode up with Ted and his team to tech in our shows at the Cultural Arts Center of Frederick County. (The Maryland one act festival performances will be there this weekend.) The Center is lightly converted from a McCrory’s five and dime store; the building wraps around other buildings on the northwest corner of Patrick and Market Streets. As a performance space, the black box theater is long on character. It seats 110 on three sides of a playing area (no stage) about the size of Silver Spring Stage’s, but with the advantage that I can make myself heard in the Frederick space. On the downside, the space is punctuated by load-bearing columns, and lighting designers have to find ways to throw light around them. (This means that if I’m not paying attention, I’ll be standing in the dark on Saturday.)
The dressing area is where the luncheonette used to be, with even less soundproofing between it and the auditorium: nothing but a black curtain. But Cindy, Zeke, and Spence ran a tight ship technically, and we got everything done that we needed to get accomplished in our 80-minute time slot, and then some. We’re bringing The Gold Lunch as a showcase, which means that it is not eligible to advance to the regional competition. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t be adjudicated in open session, five minutes a piece from three judges. Leta and I did the math and figured that they will have to talk longer than I will. They’re theater people: they’ll find a way to fill the time.
I had a couple of hours to kill until Leta arrived and it was our turn to tech, so I walked around old town Frederick, Maryland. Frederick is undergoing several sorts of transition. I’ve flickr-tagged these images as suburbanMd, and in many ways the town is now a suburb of D.C.: it has its own branch of the MARC commuter service, for instance. But in many ways it’s still an ordinary American small city, a little grubby behind the ears.
While the Francis Scott Key Hotel is now an office building (you can just make out an old painted sign for it in this image), Carroll Creek Park consists of new and newish brick and stonework lining the channelized Carroll Creek through downtown, just south of Market Street.
Just the sort of place for open-air arts and crafts festivals, like the one I visited here a few years ago. Very pleasant, with whimsical footbridges.
But many of the shop spaces are still under construction and/or are looking for tenants, and new demolition can reveal the tattier backsides of buildings a block or two outside the gentrification zone.
After our tech rehearsal, Leta and I got dinner at Griff’s, a local institution, and a pretty good dinner it was. Local merchants were observing a First Saturday late closing, the pavements marked with dubious luminaires, so we played with the wooden toys in the toy store and dropped some cash at the funky clothing store that did a side business in Grateful Dead stickers.