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‘It has been phenomenal’: Community theatre grateful to do live performances once again

Holland Community Theatre is performing ‘The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood’ after a long hiatus due to the pandemic.
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‘It has been phenomenal:’ Community theatre grateful to do live performances once again
Posted at 6:46 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 19:45:43-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — For Delanie DeCan, the Holland Community Theater is like a second home. She first auditioned for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when she was 8 years old. She got the role of Dwarf No. 4. However, that didn’t matter to her. She’s loved it and has been a part of theatre and stage production ever since.

Now, as an adult, she’s making her directorial debut with The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood.

“It has been phenomenal. I feel like from the first day they were there; they all seem to fit together really well,” DeCan said during an interview with FOX 17 at the theatre on Wednesday evening. “They took to the script really well and they’ve just made it their own. It’s been an honor watching them do it.”

The play opened on Aug. 5, showing on weekends. She said audiences have loved it so far. This week she received an email from the original playwright in New York City, congratulating her on her success.

DeCan is still in shock.

“Oh my goodness, hearing from the author was just amazing and jaw dropping,” DeCan said with her eyes wide and her hand over heart. “I have worked with playwrights before, but to actually get something from this author from the first show that I ever directed is just really cool.”

Others in the all-teen play thought it was cool as well. They said it’s been cool just being able to get back to the stage after a long pandemic.

Brian M. Everitt, the president of the theatre, agreed. He’s been around for 40 years and the pandemic was difficult to get through.

“It was incredibly hard on the arts community,” he said. “One of the things that we got from it is how much we do rely on it for our joy, our stress relief, because all of sudden it’s taken away from you and you don’t have it; it really hurts. It’s a major part of our lives in so many ways.”

He said after COVID first broke out they, like many other local community theaters nationwide, shut down like the ones on Broadway did. However, they got creative and taped a few plays and also streamed a few on Zoom.

However, it wasn’t the same, he said.

“It was difficult. I was in the show previous to this [one] where we just recorded the show. We had a small audience, and it’s difficult to perform in front of next to nobody,” said actor David Dannels. “But, it teaches you how to deal with problems. Even though we missed that energy we still have the camaraderie of our cast to keep us happy in the show and in the moment.”

It’s the camaraderie that the cast said they missed most.

DeCan is glad to have them back and to ultimately connect with audiences once again.

“Being able to see, come out and do a directorial speech and seeing the audience at half capacity for these shows, coming to see these teens who are so talented and so amazing was just really...” DeCan paused and then said, “...heartwarming.”

***They have 2 more performances left on Saturday. For tickets and information, click here.***

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