Ludlow theater turns 10

Katie Kowalski arts@ptleader.com
Posted 3/21/17

Ludlow Village Players celebrate their 10th anniversary this year with one of the more difficult plays the all-volunteer nonprofit theater group has put on for the community, said artistic directory …

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Ludlow theater turns 10

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Ludlow Village Players celebrate their 10th anniversary this year with one of the more difficult plays the all-volunteer nonprofit theater group has put on for the community, said artistic directory Vallery Durling.

“This is the toughest one we’ve ever done,” Durling said of “Nude with Violin,” which opens April 6.

But it was just that desire to be challenged that first brought Durling to the stage in high school. “I was always, believe it or not, shy,” she said. “I learned a lot through theater.”

Durling, who describes herself as an amateur who has done a lot of acting and choir singing through the years, moved to Port Ludlow in 1977. She became involved with Ludlow’s two theaters – Port Ludlow Little Theater and Port Ludlow Players – both as actor and board member, she said, until they stopped putting on regular shows.

“Both of those community theaters lost their directors, so they kind of went defunct,” she said.

In 2007, a group of five, including Durling, decided to revive Port Ludlow’s theater scene, merging the Little Theater with Port Ludlow Players to create Ludlow Village Players. They initially “formed a sort of reciprocal arrangement” whereby they’d hold a play at The Beach Club one year and then at The Bay Club the following year.

Now, annual shows are held at The Bay Club, while a reader’s theater and an improv group meet regularly at The Beach Club.

“When we formed Ludlow Village Players, we made a promise that everything we do would always be of the highest quality we could make it, and we have done that for 10 years,” said Durling, who has taken the lead as director and production manager of all of the plays.

And she does it because she loves working with the people involved, both veterans and new members, most of whom, she said, “really catch the acting bug.”

As director, Durling said, she serves as a guide, letting the actors develop on their own. “They always surprise me,” she said. “It’s always so much fun to see them bloom as they go.”

Durling said she’s had her share of challenges over the years, but “somehow or another, it all gets done. “In fact, the cast will usually take it far beyond what I even imagine.”

2017 PLAY

“Nude with Violin” by Noël Coward is a satirical play about the art world’s manners, pretensions, hypocrisy and misplaced values. It’s set in Paris.

The year is 1954, and world-renowned painter Paul Sorodin is dead, leaving the art world stunned. His relatives and friends converge in his studio soon after his death.

“Do they come to mourn or do they come to collect on his fame and fortune?” said Durling. “There are a lot of surprises in [the play].”

The cast of characters include Sorodin’s estranged wife and adult children, his art dealer, his loyal friend and valet, an American journalist, an ex-showgirl, an aristocratic Russian princess and a French maid.

Durling noted there are several foreign languages involved in the production.

Mike Derrenberger returns to the Bay Club stage with veterans Shirley Davies-Owens, Jim Gormly, Beth Ely, Janet Christensen, Nicole Frenzl, Becky Eastgard, Doug Hubbard, Don Clark and newcomers Paul Moreau, Gary Baird, Ally Roberts, Jon Plueard and Olivia Schmitt.

The 10th-anniversary show plays at 7 p.m., Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 6-9.

“My dream is that Ludlow Village Players will continue to grow and expand, offer more educational opportunities as well as performing opportunities,” Durling said.

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