Story and photos by Andrea Sutherland
As opening night approaches for the Fort Carson Community Theatre group, cast and crew members spend their final days rehearsing and perfecting their roles.
“I’m nervous,” said Sgt. Kelly Moore,
1st Space Brigade, Peterson Air Force Base, and play cast member. “It will be a lot better when we have an audience.”
Formed in September, the theater troupe has battled through sickness, injuries and training schedules to put on six shows for the Fort Carson community.
“We’ve been trying to bring a play to Fort Carson for 10 years,” said Michael Rose, manager of McMahon Auditorium and Freedom Performing Arts Center for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and an actor and co-producer in the play.
A fine arts major and musician for 25 years, Rose said that he tried to develop a fine arts program, but could not find momentum for his ideas.
“When Sabine (Mann) approached me, I was ready. I saw a unique opportunity and seized it,” he said.
Rose teamed with Mann, sponsorship and advertising sales assistant for DFMWR, to bring theater back to the Mountain Post.
“When we were in Germany the kids were involved in community theater,” said Mann, co-producer. “It made such a difference, especially during the deployment. When we came here, I was excited to see the theater only to find out, nothing.”
Mann and Rose held open auditions in September and had “an overwhelming response.”
“The hardest part was not being able to cast everyone (who tried out),” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Sargent, a Soldier in the Warrior Transition Battalion and play director.
Mann selected “A Christmas Chaos,” an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” for the group’s first performance.
“We needed a play to get started, something for the whole family,” she said. “It had to be very low budget. We’re doing this on no money.”
Cast and crew members, made up of Soldiers, spouses, children and community members, volunteer their time and talents to rehearse four nights a week for three months to perform in six shows leading up to the winter holidays. Many had never acted in a play before.
“It’s something I always wanted to do. I’ve never done it before,” said Sgt. Joe Stone, Task Force Maintenance, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
“I’m artillery,” Sargent said. “I’ve never directed a play before. But this has been a great experience for me. It gets the entire community involved.”
As Sargent prepares to return to duty, the theater group has provided him with a new perspective on leadership.
“I had no intention of being director,” said Sargent. “I was injured in Iraq. … I didn’t just want to sit around. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun.”