The Parkside Players are a theatre group in Forest Hills. My husband and I have worked with them in different capacities over the years. When I read Mark Lords’ article in The Queens Chronicle about their acceptance in the The Take Ten Festival, I beamed. It isn’t often that you read about community theatre companies leaving the community. Parkside has been serving up delicious plays for over 35 years in Queens. Though many company members have done commercial work outside of the neighborhood, they continue to work with the company to hone their craft. Kevin Schwab, company member and former President, answers a few questions.
Malini: First, congrats on Edward’s Closet written by Jenn Dlugos & Charlie Hatton, being a part of The Take Ten Festival at the 13th Street Repertory. This is wonderful exposure for all involved and for the Parkside Players. Why did you decide to submit to the festival?
Kevin: The playwrights contacted Johnny Culver about directing. He had directed in this festival circuit in NYC a few years ago and was referred to her.
Malini: The Parkside Players has a 35 + history in Forest Hills, Queens. This is definitely groundbreaking in terms of stepping out of the theatre’s comfort zone (literally and figuratively). Even though many of the members has done theatrical work outside of the company, what are the challenges, if any, that come with producing outside of your home venue? What challenges are associated with bringing this play to life?
Kevin: Scheduling time with busy actors, not knowing the performance space until the day before, and hoping that the actors understand the directors “idea” and are willing to go along with it!
From my perspective as an actor, I love fast rehearsal periods with an element of flexible improvisation since you may have to adapt to different theatrical settings on the fly. There’s a different adrenaline rush with a play that hasn’t been proven yet. One-act opportunities fit well into my schedule and working with reliable friends in the business is very comfortable and enjoyable.
Malini: Why did you guys say yes to doing the project under Parkside Players?
Kevin: Parkside in Queens brings a lot of talent together under one roof which leads to conversations about branching out and taking some risks in Manhattan that we don’t get to experience in a church basement venue.