STRAND spotlight

By Liz McLeod

Still Your House Manager

 

“Can you believe it?” I exulted to Miss Carol T. Cat. “We’re gonna be doing LIVE SHOWS AGAIN! “

Miss Carol T. Cat responded to this announcement with a slow blink of her bright green eyes, and turned her attention to bit of congealed gravy on her otherwise-immaculate fur. 

“Indeed?” she finally replied, opening her eyes in order to facilitate viewing me with disdain. “Am to assume from this that those evenings will mean further delays in the presentation of my bedtime meal? Rest assured that the lateness of the hour will in no way compromise my careful examination of the food served for hidden drugs.”

“Look, we’ve been over this, alright?” I sighed. “You have to take those pills for the rest of your life, an’ that’s that. Besides, this is exciting news! LIVE SHOWS AGAIN! Do you realize how long it’s been? Do you have any idea how long since we’ve had a live audience in the theatre watching a live stage performance?”

Miss Carol’s eyes flicked rapidly, as her razor-sharp mind performed the necessary calculation. “635 days,” came the response. “This was, however, a daytime performance, and thus my evening meal was not delayed. My afternoon meal, however, was presented exactly one hour and thirty eight minutes late. As I advised you at the time, this was unsatisfactory.”

“Six hundred and thirty five days!” I exclaimed back. “So do you UNDERSTAND how exciting this is for us – to welcome a happy, excited crowd back to our theatre to see LIVE PERFORMERS? LIVE PERFORMERS ENTERTAINING PEOPLE again?”

“I must take your word for this,” Miss Carol sniffed. “I have, as you know, expressed my dismay concerning your refusal to admit me to the theatre so that I might view these performances and judge their merit for myself. As you know, my standards are extremely high.”

“Well,” I continued, “you know Paula Poundstone, right? You’ve heard her on the radio, right? She loves cats! She told me so!”

“Bring this person to me at once,” commanded Miss Carol. “I shall permit an audience.”

“I’m sure she’d love that,” I winced, “but she’s on a tight schedule. I’ll give her your regards.”

“That will be acceptable. I would not be displeased should she mention my name over the course of her performance. Any publicity, as they say, is good publicity.”

“But that’s not all,” I pushed on. “On December 4th, we’ve got Kat Edmonson!”

Miss Carol’s ears jutted forward, her eyes flared, and her whiskers commenced a violent oscillation. “YOU PERMIT A *CAT* TO APPEAR ON YOUR STAGE? AND YET YOU DO NOT PERMIT ME, A FELLOW CAT, TO VIEW THE PERFORMANCE? THIS IS MONSTROUS!”

“No no no no no,” I babbled. “That’s just her name. Kat. With a ‘K.’ She’s not an *actual* cat. I checked. She’s a human, not a cat at all.”

“You present your acts under false pretenses?” Miss Carol sneered. “An even greater outrage! I shall take action at once!”

“No, please,” I pleaded. “It’s nothing like that. She’s really a wonderful singer, a jazz-cabaret type of singer, and she’s going to be doing a swingin’ Christmas show for us. I promise I’ll bring home her CD so you can listen.”

“I prefer a long-playing record,” Miss Carol growled. “As you know, I am an audiophile.”

“Sure, sure,” I hastened. “Whatever ya want. And then on December 9th, it’s the Squirrel Nut Zippers!”

Again with the ear-jut, the eye-flare, and the whisker-oscillation. “A SQUIRREL???” erupted Miss Carol. “YOU PERMIT A SCURRILOUS ARBOREAL CREATURE TO…”

“THERE’S NO ACTUAL SQUIRRELS!!!” I cried. And I did, by now real tears. “It’s just a band name! And they’re a great band too, real hot swing stuff – and they’re doing a Christmas show as well. You never heard of a Christmas that swung as much as this one will!”

Miss Carol glared in stony silence. She has for years considered squirrels a mortal foe, and has gleefully fantasized over the prospect of an ultimate confrontation between she and they. Her disappointment was palpable. And I have learned thru many years of deep scratches to avoid palpating her disappointment. So I took a deep breath and plunged on.

“And then, on December 20th, yet another Christmas show – a CELTIC Christmas – with string-band favorites Coig!”

“You will not entice me by dangling a string,” huffed Miss Carol. “Do not attempt to do so. I have grown beyond such kittenish – one moment please.”

A flicker of light from a passing car traced rapidly across the kitchen floor. Miss Carol reared back and pounced and whirled with dismay at her failure to capture the fleeting photons.

“Live entertainment,” I sighed with satisfaction. “There’s nothing like it!”

 

 

The Strand Theatre announces that Anne Rogers-Popejoy has recently joined their team as Development Associate and Membership Coordinator. 

Rogers-Popejoy has had extensive experience in non-profit organization administration in the realms of education, administration, and development. An ardent supporter of the arts and education, she worked with the Historic Homestake Opera House, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Northern Hills Alliance for Children in advocacy and fundraising. A native of Connecticut, she has returned with her family to New England after a 15-year sojourn to the Black Hills of South Dakota. 

In addition to overseeing the Strand Membership Program, Rogers-Popejoy will support the organization’s growing development efforts to support future programming, Strand Educational Program and Family Series, theater maintenance and technological upgrades. “We are thrilled to welcome Anne to the Strand, and to midcoast Maine!” said Strand Executive Director Jessie Davis. “Her experience, skills, and enthusiasm make her an incredible addition to our ongoing efforts, and we can’t wait to see all we’ll achieve with her as part of our team and our community!”

“I am so happy to be a part of the Strand Theatre team,” said Rogers-Popejoy. “The Strand has a solid fundraising track record, an impressive and dedicated membership base, and great potential for growth on all fronts. I am excited to put my experience in non-profit fundraising to work and get to know Rockland’s vibrant arts community!”

Do you love movies, music, and the performing arts? The Strand Theatre, a small but mighty non-profit arts organization on the Maine coast, is looking for a full-time Box Office Manager and Projectionist to join our team. The Strand brings the world to downtown Rockland, and with your help we will continue to provide dynamic and vibrant programming to the Midcoast!

 

BOX OFFICE MANAGER & PROJECTIONIST

This position requires direct contact with the public; contact [email protected] for more information about the Strand’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.

Full-time, 40hrs/wk. Schedule includes night and weekend work.

$15-$20/hr depending on experience

Paid Time Off and Holidays, access to Health and Disability Insurance programs

 

Responsibilities Include:

  • Manage ticket sales, primarily for live events, through cloud-based ticketing software
  • Sell tickets at the Box Office for Strand films and events
  • Operate digital projector for films and broadcast events
  • Assist with theater tech as needed
  • Assist with additional theater-based duties as needed

Required Skills:

  • Great customer service and inter-personal skills
  • Computer and tech savvy
  • Prior projection experience preferred but will train the right candidate
  • Critical thinker and creative problem solver
  • A willingness to work collaboratively with a small and dedicated team
  • Team player, positive attitude, and sense of humor = BIG PLUS!!!

 

Please submit a cover letter and resume to: [email protected]

For More Information: [email protected]

Accepting applications until November 14, 2021

By Liz McLeod
Again Your House Manager
 
“No, I say!” gusted Miss Carol T. Cat. “Indubitably NO! Take it away AT ONCE!”
 
I sighed, which is pretty much the limit of my capacity to communicate these days, as I scraped up the moistened Felimazole tablet with the point of a kitchen knife.
 
“THE GALL!” snorted Miss Carol, her whiskers aquiver with the utter indignity of it all. “The UNMITIGATED gall! Despite my continued remonstrances you CONTINUE in your bumbling attempts to induce me to consume that repellent tablet by concealing it in a foul gelatinous mass! WHAT CRUST!”
 
“It’s a TREAT!” I wheedled, in a lame attempt to follow the good Dr. Einstein’s definition of insanity. “Look, it says right here on the bag – ‘IRRESTISTABLES!’”
 
“Whoever termed them thus was careless with his nomenclature,” sneered Miss Carol. “They are, in fact, highly resistable. Especially when tainted by your unspeakable potion. No, I say, your feeble attempts at ‘trick and treat’ shall go unrewarded.”
 
“It’s Trick OR Treat,” I mumbled. “At least get it right.”
 
“Bah,” Miss Carol interjected, and nobody can interject like Miss Carol. “Bah!” she repeated for emphasis.
 
“Look,” I complained, “if I keep handling this stuff I’m gonna get more of it into me than into you. Look at me. What’s happening to my thyroid? I’m gaining weight, I’m moving slow, my vision is blurred, I’m tired and sluggish, I can’t think straight, and I’m always cold!”
 
“And this differs from your usual state how so?
 
“Go ahead,” I grumbled, as I popped another iodine supplement in hopes of counteracting the Felimazole now soaking thru my fingertips. “Be funny. But you’re the one who needs to take the pill, and you’re gonna take the pill if I have to sit here all night!”
 
Now it was Miss Carol’s turn to “hah,” because she knows I can’t do that. Because the next couple of weeks at the Strand are bustling with activity as we wrap up October with a couple of first-class movies, an outstanding opera, and our latest “Strand on the Air” broadcast. On the screen we’ve got the delightful comedy-drama “Falling for Figaro,” the story of a young woman who cashes it all in in hopes of getting her big break as an opera singer, followed by benedict Cumberbatch – yes, HIMSELF! – in “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain,” the story of an eccentric British artist  with a thing for painting psychedelic cats.
 
And on top of that, the Metropolitan Opera’s bringing us Terence Blanchard’s groundbreaking jazz-inflected opera “Fire Shut Up In My Bones!” And then, from the heights of high culture to the guilty pleasures of the proletarian, our latest Strand On The Air broadcast takes you down to Abysmal Point for a chilling adventure up the wooded side of Pogy Hill, as Mrs Grunden and company deal with the horrors of alien abduction! And if that’s not enough, we’ll also have as our musical guests family favorites Bee Parks and the Hornets – whom you can also enjoy thru November 1st in the Strand’s exclusive streaming concert “Spooky Bugs!” Is that a spectacular Halloween package or what?
 
“Psychedelic cats?” interrupted Miss Carol. “Elucidate!”
 
“It’s art with cats in it, only, I dunno, psychedelic,” I stammered back. “Whattaya want from me? I haven’t seen the movie yet.”
 
“Nonsense,” scoffed Miss Carol. “Felids, as you know, do not partake of psychoactive pharmaceutical products of any kind. I myself forswear even the dubious pleasures of catnip. I am, as you know, hard-core ‘straight edge.’”
 
“Sez you,” I laughed. “Because when you had your mouth open just then, I flipped the pill inside! Direct hit!”
 
Miss Carol’s bright green eyes tripled in size as she involuntarily swallowed. “Hmph!” she gruffed as she stalked away. “Ridiculous fat barrel hew-mon!”

By Liz McLeod

Your House Manager

 

“Come back here, you brat!” I growled, as Miss Carol T. Cat stormed from the kitchen, displaying as she did so the highest of all possible dudgeons.

“You will cease tormenting me, hew-mon,” Miss Carol hissed back, “or I shall certainly rend your garment, and you with it.”  As she issued this reply I heard the unmistakable sound of her claws snapping into position.

“You gotta take your medicine,” I pleaded.

“As do you,” came the response. “And you most certainly shall if you do not immediately dispose of that vile bolus. Your attempt to taint my food with it has failed. Your concealment of it in a gelatinous meat-flavored substance has come to naught. My position on the matter is final. TAKE IT AWAY.”

I groaned. I do a lot of groaning these days. Miss Carol’s thyroid checkup last month went surprisingly well, all things considered, with the vet advising me that her numbers had, with medication, dropped from extremely high to a bit low.  “I do nothing in half measure,” she declared when I read her the results, but she balked at taking the reduced-dosage tablets now prescribed. Maybe they taste worse than the other ones, maybe the Pepto-Bismol pink color of the pill is offensive to her restrained sense of esthetics, but either way it’s been a battle over the past two weeks to get them into her. I fear, from my own sluggish and fog-brained state, that I may be absorbing more of the drug than she is. Either that or I still haven’t recovered from CIFF weekend. Whatever. Either way, it’s a challenge.

“Maybe,” I shouted into the living room, where I knew Miss Carol now to be sequestered in her lair beneath the record-player table, “I oughta have one of the kids come in with a camera. Maybe I oughta make a movie of this. A REAL TWO-REEL COMEDY! You know, where the unbearably clever cat repeatedly outwits her LOWLY HEW-MON and leaves her humiliated in every scene! Maybe we oughta DO that – and submit it to the Strand’s Youth Film Festival! Because,” I continued, “the deadline for getting in entries is coming up fast – we’re accepting submissions right up thru October 31st! I BET A FILM CALLED ‘PILL THE CAT’ WOULD BE RIGHT UP THERE WHEN THE AWARDS ARE HANDED OUT! JUST THINK, A REAL TROPHY FOR YOU TO KNOCK ON THE FLOOR!”

“Preposterous!” growled back the reply. “You are INELIGIBLE for this competition, both as a Strand employee and as a hew-mon of ADVANCED AGE. The CREAKING OF YOUR KNEE JOINTS would no doubt DROWN OUT THE SOUNDTRACK of any motion picture!”

“Oh yeah?” I retorted. You can tell how fogged my brain is today from the lacerating, Wildean quality of my ripostes. “Well, YOU’RE  twelve years old! Ya gotta be 18 or under to enter, an’ it don’t say nothin’ about SPECIES! I could enter it under YOUR NAME, and you’d be a CELEBRITY.”

“A celebrity?” Her voice here took on a surprisingly mild tone, with just a hint of intrigue. “Indeed? I have, as you know, considered pursuing a career as an entertainer, as the Judi Dench of felinity. Perhaps I have been hasty in dismissing this opportunity.”

“Yeah,” I bounced back, sensing my chance. “But you know, you can’t be a star unless you rehearse. Lotta rehearsal in show business. You gotta do your scene over an’ over to get everything just right. Like, take this pill for instance – you might have to do the scene, oh, I don’t know, twice a day…”

“Indeed? Then we must begin at once.” She dashed back into the kitchen, her dudgeon slightly lower now, and made a straight line for her bowl, where the soggy, gravy-moistened Pill Pocket containing her medication awaited. With a lick and a gulp and a chew, it disappeared.

“Did you get that?” Miss Carol queried. “I considered my performance exceptional.”

“Sorry,” I said, holding out my empty hands. “No film in the camera, and no camera. Whattayasay we try it again? In, oh, twelve hours maybe?”

“Very well,” she agreed. “I shall, as we say in the profession, be ‘on my mark.’ See that you are on yours.”

“Absolutely,” I agreed. 

“In the meantime,” said Miss Carol grandly, “I shall wait in my trailer. See that craft services delivers a proper meal.”

By Liz McLeod

Your House Manager

 

“What do you mean,” demanded Miss Carol T. Cat, “that my routine is to change YET AGAIN?”

I mumbled incoherently. I do a lot of that these days. Miss Carol fixed me in an unrelenting icy state and repeated her challenge. “Are you not AWARE,” she thundered, “that my routines have been repeatedly thrown into utter disarray by the events of the past nineteen months, and that you have done little, if anything to mollify the disruptions. Your lack of decisive action in bringing an immediate end to the present unfortunate circumstances do not reflect well on your managerial skills.”

“What?” I erupted back. “Look, I don’t have any say over the world at large, OK? I can barely even control my own shaky little corner of it, so don’t blame me for any of this. I’m just a poor soul trying to get along same as anybody else. All I’m saying is my schedule is gonna change a bit – now that OPERA SEASON is about to begin! I’d think you’d be EXCITED about that, you being an apostle of high culture and all.”

“And here again,” Miss Carol snorted, “you inevitably disappoint me. Recall my request at the height of the pandemic when we spent much time in lonely sequestrance that we together learn to perform Rossini’s “Duetto Buffo di Du Gatti,” with my clarion-like soprano set in joyous counterpoint to your honking, nasal alto. And yet you declined my repeated requests to rehearse this selection.”

“You know I only sing show tunes,” I snapped back. “And even then just for comedy. I’m not gonna embarrass myself…”

Miss Carol’s bright green eyes opened wide as she emitted a hilarious snuffle. “Your wallowing in low culture demands elevation. It is my responsibility to educate you. Repeat after me: ‘MI-A-U – MI-A-U – MI-A-U….MI-AU  A-U A-U AU MI…”

“OH ME is right,” I retorted. “I ain’t gonna do it. I’m gonna leave opera to the professionals.”

And that’s exactly what we WILL do when the Metropolitan Opera in HD returns to the Strand on October 9th. The Met’s been a regular fall and winter feature at the Strand since 2007,  except for the unfortunate unpleasantness that terminated our 2019-20 season early and prevented the season from taking place at all in 2020-21.  But all the drama, excitement and color of grand opera at its best returns to our Big Screen this fall, and we’re really excited to welcome all our friends back for the new season. There will, however, just as Miss Carol notes, be some changes in the routine this year. As most of our opera enthusiasts have no doubt noted our usual reserved-seat program had to be suspended for this season due to pandemic seating restrictions, and we’re forced to limit attendance for each screening to 100 persons, with an empty buffer section required around each reserved seat or group of seats sold.  There have also been adjustments in our usual Encore screening policies, and in addition, scheduling conflicts we can’t avoid will force us to present two of this season’s operas on a delayed basis only. We want to stress that all these changes are temporary, and we hope we can return to our usual policies in subsequent seasons. But for now, we’re just happy to be able to present the Met at all – and we know you’ll be understanding of any difficulties that may come up along the way. As ever, our Box Office Manager Norrie Thompson is ready and available to help you at 594-0070 extension 3 – if you don’t catch her in the office, be sure to leave a clear and detailed message and she’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

“Are you finished?” interrupted Miss Carol. “We must resume our rehearsal. Please be seated at the piano.”

“We don’t have a piano,” I growled. “All we have is this wheezy pump organ, and it leaks air.”

“We shall perform acapella,” insisted Miss Carol. “You will find the challenge stimulating. Repeat after me… MI-A-U – MI-A-U – MI-A-U….MI-AU  A-U A-U AU MI…”

 

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