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TAG presents ‘The Librarian’

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For the next couple of weekends, people will have a chance to check out more than books at the Truckee Library.

“The Librarian,” a one-act play, will take center stage at the library Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 11. Proceeds from the show will benefit the library, which has struggled with funding cutbacks in recent years.

The show the Truckee Actors Guild is presenting in hopes of raising money for the facility is, fittingly, about a librarian who is institutionalized after the library where she works is closed.

The fictional library in the thought-provoking play, which runs only about 45 minutes, was closed due to funding problems.

“The play itself is so appropriate for the circumstances that our library is in,” said Ruth Hall, president of Friends of the Library.

Diana McNally-McCall, one of the two show producers, said the play is not a comedy, but has some very humorous, biting moments.

“It’s pretty much a one-woman show – her talking to her psychiatrist,” McNally-McCall said.

Cast members

The librarian, played by Christine Wishart, hallucinates that she has conversations with great artists from the past, including Vincent Van Gogh and Jane Austen. From these characters, she gains hope.

Other cast members are Bill Furnell, who plays the psychiatrist, and Barbara Biondo as his nurse. In addition to McNally-McCall, show staff includes Marcelyn Cohune as producer and Riad Alard as director. McNally-McCall said one reason for staging the play at the library is TAG members wanted to do something proactive to help the community, which is so supportive of TAG.

Because the library was being hit by budget cuts and TAG needed a place to perform, “it was a perfect pairing,” McNally-McCall said.

Hall, too, said hosting the play is a great use for the facility.

“I am very excited to pool resources for a cultural event,” Hall said.

TAG members hope to raise $2,000 for the library with the four performances, which opens TAG’s season, McNally-McCall said.

“People should come to experience live theater and to support their library,” McNally-McCall said. “I’ve had a few people buy tickets who said they have never been in the library.”

Temporary renovations

McNally-McCall said some temporary library renovations were done in order to stage the performance, adding that book shelves were moved and a portable stage and lighting were brought in.

“It’s going to look like a theater,” she said.

The limited audience size was probably the biggest obstacle in holding the performance at the library, she said.

Due to the space limitations, only 40 tickets are available for each of the four performances.

Both Saturday night performances will be “galas,” and will include pre-show musical performances, food and drinks.

The Encore Winds Ensemble of the Bay area will provide the music Saturday, Oct. 4. Locals Eileen Hacker, Jeri Collins and Paul Swenson will perform Saturday, Oct. 11.

Tickets may be purchased at SierraWest Bank in Truckee and at the Truckee Library. Friday night tickets cost $12 and Saturday night “gala” tickets cost $20.

Actors without a stage

The idea of having a play at a library is an original one, according to McNally-McCall, who said she had never heard of another library hosting a show. McNally-McCall thought of the idea when she learned of the library’s funding problems.

When she came across the play, “The Librarian” by James Prideaux, she thought it would be the perfect play for the Truckee Library.

TAG may have started a trend which could benefit libraries while offering TAG members and other actors a place to perform.

McNally-McCall said she was recently contacted by people from libraries in Reno and in the Tahoe area who are interested in hosting productions at their facilities.

“We spend 98 percent of our time looking for a place to perform,” McNally-McCall said, adding that TAG performances almost always are sold out.

“There’s obviously an audience here. We really need theater space.”

She said she has discussed the problem of performance space with other community theater group members, most of whom said their cities or towns had given space to them.


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