By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez |
MIDDLETOWN – His costume size may be a few sizes larger, but when Lincroft resident and amateur actor Rick Makin takes the stage at the Navesink Library Theater for Monmouth Players as the Stage Manager in Thorton Wilder’s classic “Our Town” this week, the lines will be the same as the ones he recited 60 years ago.
Makin, a retired Asbury Park Press editor, has been part of the Jersey Shore community theater for decades, appearing in various productions including starring roles in “Mame” and “Bye Bye Birdie” for Red Oak Music Theater in Lakewood, and “The Best Man” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at Second Avenue Playhouse in Atlantic Highlands.
But when he learned that Monmouth Players was planning to present “Our Town,” he decided to try out; he wanted to reprise the role he played as a Point Pleasant Beach High School senior in 1956-57.
“Now that I’m a husband, father and grandfather, I wanted to see what I bring to the table this time around,” Makin said.
As a high school student he was unfamiliar with the famous and oft-produced Wilder play, but over the years Makin grew to appreciate the work, as well as the character of the Stage Manager.
Wilder’s Stage Manager, the main character, similar to a narrator, directly addresses the audience, guiding them throughout the play.
“The Stage Manager is kind of like a Greek chorus,” Makin said. “He has an encompassing knowledge. He knows what’s going to happen. It’s almost a supernatural body of knowledge. It’s an intriguing play on many levels.”
“Our Town” is performed without a set on a mostly bare stage with few props; actors mostly mime their actions. Makin, who will turn 78 on Nov. 13 during the play’s run, will have a personal prop – the pocket watch that belonged to his grandfather. It’s the same watch Makin used on stage 60 years ago.
“It’s a pocket watch that originally belonged to my maternal grandfather, Henry Marston,” he said. “He was a conductor on the North Jersey Coast Line (Bay Head to New York).”
His grandfather died in 1954, when Makin was 14 or 15 and, according to Makin, his father gave him the watch and said, “This belonged to your Grandfather Marston. He wanted you to have it.”
The watch still runs and keeps accurate time. “It’s still one of my favorite things,” he said.
Lori Renick of Keansburg, director of “Our Town” and artistic director of Monmouth Players said she has wanted to direct the play for many years. “It really fell into place this season since we are celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the building,” she said.
Makin says he’s grateful that his health is good enough to take on the Stage Manager role and thrilled for the opportunity. “I always hoped I would get another chance to take another crack at it and now that it’s age-appropriate, I was delighted,” he said.
“Our Town” will be performed Nov. 4- 5, 11-12 and 18-19 at Navesink Library Theater, 149 Monmouth Ave., in the Navesink section of Middletown. Tickets: $20, $17 for students and seniors, and $10 for veterans. Call 732-291-9211 or visit monmouthplayers.net.
This article was first published in the Nov. 2-9, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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