After being invited by email, I visited the basement of the Veterans Hall in Southampton – where seated at a huge table was the future of East End, and perhaps American, theater. Local teens, Gaylin Davey, Zoey Engeldrum, Emily Glass, Silas Jones, Madeline Kane, and Dakota Quackenbush all were beaming and smiling as Ms. Tamara Salkin led me to greet them. She explained, “We are the South Fork Performing Arts, a youth performing arts education program. Our mission is to bring quality arts education to local youths by utilizing area professional artists and teachers in the subjects of theatre and music.”
These talented kids had the best energy and giggled as I told them a little about myself and my acting past along with what I remembered about being their age.
Ms. Salkin, a fine actor in her own right, explained that they are currently in the midst of rehearsals for their very first Black Box Performance Project. It is being produced and presented in association with the Southampton Cultural Center (SCC).
They have selected Antigone Now by Melissa Cooper. It is a modern adaptation of the Greek tragedy Antigone by Sophocles.
The play is being directed by Ms. Salkin, a Southampton native who I watched performed with distinction recently in The Money Shot at SCC. Amanda Jones, who is an East Hampton native, is the company’s musical director and sound designer for this production. She is also the music director for SCC’s Center Stage productions and I recently saw her perform in Meet Me in St. Louis.
Ms. Salkin proudly stated, “We have six local youth talents from three area school districts performing with us. They are Gaylin Davey, Zoey Engeldrum, Emily Glass, Silas Jones, Madeline Kane, and Dakota Quackenbush.” I recognized Miss Quackenbush from her great performance in the musical Evita at Bay Street this last summer.
“Using Black Box Theatre style and techniques, students will perform in an educationally based setting … [that takes] the focus off the set, costumes, lights and spectacle. We will bring the focus back to the student actors and the work they are doing,” Ms. Salkin explained. “Our actors do thorough script and character analysis. Our actors also will make stagecraft decisions regarding the minimal costumes, sets, props, sound design, and lighting design. The actors will learn production duties such as collecting ads for the playbill, promoting the show with their networks, and more.”
She summed it all up by saying, “We know that we are bringing something different to youth theatre on the East End and we would like your help spreading the word. We meet for rehearsals this Friday, Saturdays, and Antigone Now, will be playing at the Southampton Cultural Center on December 14 and December 15 at 7 p.m.”
I know I am going to attend and look forward to this wonderful new theater experience.
Tickets to Antigone Now are $10 for students and $15 for general admission.
Southampton Cultural Center is located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. For information, visit www.southforkperformingarts.com.