Last year, Dickens Parlour Theatre branched out from magic and stage readings, to full-fledged productions, helping to create the Bethany Area Repertory Theatre (BART).
“If you build it, they will come,” said Lenne Sirasky, who is directing “Rudy and Ruby,” BART’s second production. “It seems like this area has been dying for community theater, some kind of culture, some form of entertainment, but they don’t want to have to travel to Rehoboth for Clear Space or Georgetown to Possum Point, or even up to Milford for Second Street. They can come right here for local theater and a get a really good night’s entertainment for a decent dollar.”
In April, BART will be presenting “Rudy and Ruby,” which was written by Bethany Beach playwright Bob Davis.
“It’s a farcical comedy about a floundering local community theater,” explained Sirasky, “in no specific geographic location. They’re on their last leg. Their recent shows have been flops. They’re tied together with gum and rubber bands and Scotch tape. So a couple of the board members came up with this idea to cut costs — they’re going to use robots to perform in the show. They’ll come off as humans.
“Ostensibly, the concept is cost-saving — robots don’t need to be paid. They’ll save money on costuming, and time for rehearsal, because we won’t need theater space, because they’ll just program the lines into them.
“Several of the members are all in favor of this,” he noted. “Some are skeptical, of course, not knowing what these robots are all about. But, in the end, everyone agrees to try the robots. They bring in a robot named Rudy, from Japan. Things are going great; this is the best thing since sliced bread. The robot learns his lines; it’s quick, it’s easy and they don’t have to pay him. But there’s more to this robot than meets the eye.”
The cast has nine members and one understudy, which includes local talent Robert Kemp playing Rudy the robot.
“We have a very wonderful and talented actor, Robert Kemp, playing Rudy the robot. His actions and mannerisms are very robotic, and every line he delivers is going to elicit laughter from the audience.”
The performances will take place on April 3, 10, 17, 18, 24 and 25. Tickets cost $35 per person, which includes dinner and the show, beginning at 6 p.m.
“We’ll have a nice sit-down dinner before the show,” said Sirasky. “Then the curtain will go up around 7:15. During intermission, patrons can go back to the parlor for coffee, a drink if they’d like, and dessert. And then come back to the theater for the second act.”
Sirasky had worked with BART previously, as an actor in “Flowers in the Square,” and said he was excited to come to the area and find a local theater group with which he could perform.
“I saw an audition notice in the Coastal Point that raised my curiosity. I relocated here about 18 months ago from Baltimore. I came with a theatrical background and was looking to get involved with community theater in the area,” he said. “It has been fantastic.
“Dickens, of course, has a reputation as an outlet for magic shows. And Rich Bloch and Bob Davis came up with the idea to, ‘Let’s use this venue to give the public something in the off-season. They said, ‘Let’s do some community theater and see what kind of talent is in the area.’ The response has been fantastic and overwhelming.”
“Rudy and Ruby” is Sirasky’s first venture into directing, and he said he is excited for the new challenges the title brings.
“This is my first foray into directing. I’ve always been on stage acting and a little bit of background stuff. This will be my 20th show that I’ve done. I’d never directed, and Bob said this is something to get my feet wet, if I was interested in directing. Absolutely!
“Obviously, working under 19 other directors, with my experience, I’ve always been on the other side of what it’s like to be a director. You always have some trepidation when someone asks you to get into something that you think you know about but never really realized what’s involved. I’ve enjoyed it.”
Sirasky said that BART’s partnership with Dickens has been fantastic, as has the community support, which he hopes will continue to grow.
“It’s a great venue, and it’s doing nothing but growing,” he said. “We are going to have a sellout for every performance. The shows that Bob Davis writes are very funny and very professional. We’ve had nothing but great responses from the participants and the audience members during ‘Flowers in the Square.’ We’re hoping for more of the same for ‘Rudy and Ruby.’”
For more information, or to reserve tickets, call (302) 829-1071 or visit dptmagic.com. Dickens Parlour Theatre is located at 35715 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) in Millville. Anyone who is interested in getting involved with BART can email a letter of interest to Bob Davis at RDavis6080@aol.com.