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26 March 2006

Solano Rep, Missouri Street Theater and It's An Actor's...

Life For me.

I spent an evening in a pretty amazing place speaking with some pretty amazing people. Before I get into specifics--I'm gonna brag a little.

When I was four years old my family moved to a smallish city in Northern California called Fairfield. The two main industries were Travis Air Force Base and some variation of farming...or something (you can guess into which of the two demographics my familly fell). The main drag was, and is the very wide Texas Street, built wide to make room--not for rush hour traffic--but for tractors and cattle. School was an interesting brew, an atmmosphere that developed from throwing kids who have grown up all over the world and kids who had never left the county together in one room. Left to it's own devices (minus Travis AFB) Fairfield's demographic was primarily agricultural, Mormon and white. Air Force culture could not have been more different in every way, infusing the area with an amalgam of cultures, colors, languages and fresh ideas. As a kid I remembered being fascinated by the contrast, and the manner in which the two worlds melded...or collided.


Okay, technically, you don't need to know all of this in order to get the rest of the story. Maybe. I do think the social makeup of the town is one of many factors that contribute to the little tidbit I'm about to convey.

In an area of something more and something less than 150,000 people, there are something like a dozen theater groups and nearly a dozen performing arts theaters or performance venues. And the number continues to increase. Can I talk about how much I love my town?

Last Thursday I was to meet with a woman whom I'd long admired and about whom I'd been curios for years. An actor, when Barbara Norris moved to Fairfield, she could find very little in the way of local theater work. And so, being the intrepid soul she is, she began the Solano Repertory Theater company and hasn't looked back since. She acts and directs and manages her company and contributes her time to local community arts efforts. So now, I have this magazine and I thought, 'Cool, I can go be nosy.'

When I arrived at our meeting place, it was to discover that yet another theater and theater company had sprung up. The Missouri Street Theater and Theater Academy, made available for the purpose by Pam Spering, and presided over by Serena, Sylvia and a few other wise women who have turned a suite of offices into small theater and arts academy. Have I mentioned how much I love my town?