Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Devil and Daniel Webster Take the Stage at Luke AFB

by Pa Rock
Citizen Theatre Critic

The Luke Experience is a community theatre troupe that is a relatively recent addition to the cultural scene at Luke Air Force Base. Tonight I had the pleasure of attending their performance of The Devil and Daniel Webster, a morality play based on an award-winning short story by Stephen Vincent Benet.

I enjoy community theatre, having worked with a few, and I came to tonight's performance with several expectations. First, because the show was being staged for one night only, I expected quite a few first night gaffes - but if there were any they escaped my critical perusal. The play was performed skillfully, and even though there were quite a few people on stage, the blocking was good and the cast flowed across the stage with ease and grace.

I was also expecting to see some stilted acting, especially since the major characters of this play are men. (It is often hard for little theatre's to find an adequate pool of men from which to cast - and, at least in my experience, they tend to be less dramatically inclined than the ladies.) This cast was exceptional. Of particular note, Marques Bones had a commanding stage presence. Bones portrayed Jabez Stone, the poor New Hampshire farmer who sold his soul to the devil. Mitchell Bechtold was the devil, Mr. Scratch. He strolled the stage in a delightfully demonic manner as he sought to collect and protect his property - the soul of Jabez Stone.

The director of this production was Lacey Quattlebaum. Not only did she do a fine job of bringing this script to the stage, she also donned a mustache and served as a stand-in for the actor who was scheduled to play Daniel Webster. Lacey was presented with a very well-deserved bouquet from the cast and crew at the end of the production.

Many of the people associated with the Luke Experience and tonight's play are active duty members of the United States Air Force. They keep us safe, and in their spare time they are damned fine entertainers! I hope to have the opportunity to attend many more of their productions.

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