By Rebecca Price Janney, Sep 1 2017 02:21PM
By Guest Blogger Christopher Black
(Two weeks ago my friend Christopher Black wrote about the Bachmann Players, who perform colonial dinner theater in Easton, Pennsylvania’s historic Bachmann Public House. Now that we know more about the B.P., I’ve asked him to introduce us to the men and women who make up this fascinating troupe.)
The Players themselves are an interesting bunch. They are very involved in the community, which always makes scheduling rehearsals and performances a challenge. It is however, an honor and a compliment that people who have so much going on in their lives make the commitment to do Bachmann Player shows.
Two frequent players are Michael Hollingsworth and Bob Thena.Michael has played Easton’s Founder William Parsons in two separate productions. Likewise, Bob Thena has done the same with Jacob Bachmann. It’s interesting to see the actors develop the personas of men who represent Easton in 1752 at its founding, then only three years later at the sudden outbreak of the French and Indian war when Easton was almost abandoned for fear of a massacre.
David Rose is Easton’s official town crier and has played a nice variety of roles, from the Theophilus Shannon, who ran the Bachmann Tavern for George Taylor, to the arrogant and aloof Thomas Penn and the blood thirsty preacher-turned-Indian killer, John Elder. David is a Quaker and has been generous with his time in helping me begin to understand Quakerism, which is of course a huge part of the history of Pennsylvania.
My family has kicked in as well with my wife often playing small roles, supervising the food and serving and stage management. She also oversees our web site’s graphic design and publicity. Her brother Doug Burton has played Easton’s Ferrymann in two productions, and Paul Strikwerda, who is a professional voice over actor, has graced us with renditions of Thomas Paine, Conrad Weiser, and the Moravian story teller William Edmunds.
The support and enthusiasm of the players really keep the project going.
Although I often portray Benjamin Franklin, I think the role I personally enjoy the most is actually “director.” There’s something almost magical about floating in and out of the piece, weaving its creation. Being the author, as well as an actor in the production, allows for a deep familiarity with the material. When it gets to the point in the process when I am able to work with other individuals to add their creativity and talents to the pot, that is where the whole thing really takes off. I believe I enjoy the after-tone of a true collaborative moment of creativity, even more than the applause of an engaged audience.