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Ann’s Choice actors take center stage

There’s a role for everyone in community theater club

Created date

April 24th, 2012

When she moved to Ann s Choice from Martinsville, N.J., Margaret Braunschweiger decided to acquire new experiences. Nearly everything she s involved in at the Erickson Living community in Bucks County, Pa., is something she had never done before. Ann s Choice Players, a campus theater group, tops that list. With no acting experience whatsoever, Margaret joined Players because it sounded fun and the opportunity was right here. I just walked down the hall, she says. Margaret most recently appeared in The Cemetery Club, the funny situation comedy the Players performed in February at both Ann s Choice and Maris Grove, the Erickson Living community in Delaware County, Pa. Many in the theater group have no theatrical experience, but that isn t a drawback, says former Langhorne, Pa., resident Maggie Farley, who chairs the Players. I ve found that people you d never expect are absolutely wonderful. What appeals to them is expressing themselves in a way they never have before. She describes Howard Bishow, who acted some while in military service, as a natural. He auditions for all the campus plays and made his directing debut last year. If you like to do creative things, a drama group is the place to be, Howard says. As a theater buff, Howard and his neighbors often rely on community-provided transportation when they attend Broadway shows at Philadelphia s historic Walnut Street Theatre.

Reader s theater

Maggie s rich background in community theater has helped her shape Players into a first-rate reader s theater. Reader s theater requires no memorizing, no special lighting or costumes, and no scenery. It does require acting. Performers depend on their voices, bodies, and faces to make the audience use their imaginations, Maggie says. It s like the old radio shows. Maggie directedThe Cemetery Clubas a reader s theater production. Barbara Weir directedLove Letters, a popular two-character reader s theater play, in April. It was an experiment, Barbara says. There s no action. The characters sit and read their 50 years of love letters to one another. New neighbor Ann Harris spotted Barbara s audition notice on her way to the Ann s Choice fitness center. I d never been in a play, she says. But I d put on 29 of them as an elementary school teacher. Ann auditioned in her gym clothes and read opposite neighbor Joe Caputo. They hadn t met before, but they were perfect together, Barbara says. They earned the starring roles. But not every Players member aspires to act. As stage manager, Jane Neiger keeps things moving smoothly backstage during all Ann s Choice performing arts center productions. Doing this is fun and rewarding, Jane says. She and her husband live in a Harrison-style apartment home with lots of windows overlooking Warminster Park.