Learn about San Marcos Player Theater by the Lake. We had a chance to ask San Marcos Players' President, Debbie Jardin, some questions about this exciting new(wish) theatre in San Marcos.
Our mission is to offer quality entertaining productions at affordable prices while creating opportunities for children, students, adults, and seniors interested in developing their skills in theater arts and working with seasoned, experienced directors.
The Lake San Marcos Players was organized in 2013 to give everyone, from children to seniors, an opportunity to either hone their acting skills or be a part of a show for the very first time. Everyone is welcomed to take part in our productions: onstage or behind the scenes. Training is provided and you will become part of our theater family.
Our goal is for you to experience the enjoyment of the performing arts and instill a love for live theater in our community.
Are the Players made up of only members of the community of Lake San Marcos, or do you have participants from other nearby areas?
Our auditions are open and anyone can participate.
A few of the lineups for 2016 for Lake San Marcos Players include a community variety show and Sketches from Carol Burnett Show.
What comprises the variety show acts?
This show was a collaboration of the clubs in Lake San Marcos. We wanted to see if there were enough residents interested in showing their talents to the community. I was pleasantly surprised. We had a variety of acts including singing, music, duets, Ukulele group, tap dancing, ventriloquist, wheelchair dance, comedy routines, and small one liners. It was a success and are planning to do this every other year. It really brought the Lake San Marcos community together.
How did you decide to produce sketches from Carol Burnett? Do participants choose which sketch they will perform, or are they cast?
When we first formed the theater we had the audiences take a survey to find out what kind of shows they would like to see. Comedies and musicals were at the top of the lsit. I have always been a fan of Carol Burnett and when I discovered that the sketches from her popular TV variety show were available for purchase the board unanimously agreed to try doing a few of them. We performed 7 sketches last year and had sold-out audiences. We decided on an encore presenting 9 additional sketches. One of my favorites was the Dentist Sketch performed by Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. I thought that if I found someone who could do the sketch justice I would include it in the show. During audition I found an actor who not only resembles Tim Conway in appearance but has improvisational skills.
Actors audition and the director casts them in the various sketches.
I love that you all incorporate both traditional and radio plays into your seasons. In fact, your theatre concentrated on radio dramas specifically in the beginning. Tell us a little bit about the benefits and challenges in producing radio dramas as opposed to straight plays or musicals.
Not having a building to call our own and starting off on a shoe-string budget, the radio shows seem to be the option for us. The demographics of our audiences tend to be in the age range of 50+. We thought many of them would remember listening to radio shows. Our first one, Rick Lowell, Private Eye was such a huge success that we followed that with a radio show of A Christmas Carol. What people enjoy most is seeing the sound effects performed right on stage.
Benefits: You don't need a stage. Actors do not need to memorize lines; therefore, less rehearsals than a stage production. Costumes are very minimal. No sets or scenery required. Actors can easily perform multiple roles. The director is not tasked with matching the age of the character with the actor.
Challenges: The only challenge I can think of is convincing people that watching a radio show performance can be just as entertaining as a stage performance.
You emphasize and offer on your website opportunities for folks interested in behind-the-scenes work. There are so many wonderful individuals who find a theatre home not on stage, but backstage.
Tell us a little about how your volunteers who help Lake San Marcos Players day-to-day, or for productions.
This has been a challenge for us. Although we do have volunteers who regularly help with the set design & construction it would be great to have volunteers to run the lights and sound. We are also in need of people to help us with our website, marketing, advertising, fundraising, directing, etc.
Do you have any particularly outstanding volunteers you'd like to mention? How do they specifically help Lake San Marcos Players be a true community theatre?
I would really like to mention Carolyn Bourdeau. She has been a board member since the beginning of our formation. She helps design and decorate our sets and house. She also steps in as stage manager, house hospitality hostess, and anything else asked of her. I couldn't put on a production without her.
Describe your audience - visitors, locals, etc?
I would say that 60 percent of our audience are residents of Lake San Marcos. 20 percent are friends and family of the actors and 10 percent from the general public. 80% of our ticket sales are from people ages 60+.
How do you get to know your audience on a personal level?
When people reserve their tickets via our website, we obtain their emails. We send out emails on a regular basis. Since 60% of our audience are from the Lake San Marcos community, we get to know them through our community website: Nextdoor.
What kind of support do you have from your community for your community theatre?
Through our community's website, Nextdoor, we get a lot of support from residents. I will post what props or furniture I need for a production and the community always come through. That is how I got the dentist chair for the upcoming production of Carol Burnett Buffet of Comedy Sketches.
We are also slowly getting support from our businesses who are willing to place ads in our programs.
Have you worked with or been involved with any other California community theatres?
I was involved with Patio Playhouse in Escondido during the 1980s. I have also worked with the Village Church Community Theater in Rancho Santa Fe.
What do you think 'makes' community theatre community theatre?
When I started this group I wanted everyone to have an opportunity to experience live theater whether they had any experience or not. I also want the productions to be affordable so that families can enjoy going to theater. We try to keep the content of our productions at a level where parents can bring their children. Everyone who is a part of our theater is a volunteer. No one gets paid. This sometimes is a challenge because many actors and directors in California are looking for paid acting jobs.
Are you a California native?
I grew up in Bowling Green, Ohio. I was active in a community theater called The Black Swamp Players. I think they are still active. I moved to California in 1976.
Located in the developing community of Lake San Marcos, the theater began in 2013 when two residents joined talents to expose San Marcos and surrounding communities to the performing arts at the amateur level.
Beginning with a shoe-string budget, the San Marcos Players' original productions concentrated on radio dramas, which were popular from the 1920's to the 1940's. The sold-out shows of A Christmas Carol, You Can't Take It With You, and The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow were performed using only the voices of the actors, music, and sound effects, which were performed on stage by crew members. These performances also provided opportunities for people to be involved who did not want to act but were interested in helping behind the scenes. Since then the variety of productions has expanded.
In 2014 the San Marcos Players was designated a federally-chartered non-profit corporation under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3). All donations are tax-deductible. To become a friend or sponsor of the San Marcos Players click here.
Debbie Jardin, President of Lake San Marcos Players:
"When I moved to Lake San Marcos in 2012 I noticed that there were a lot of clubs that residents could join but I didn't see a theater group. I put an article in the Quail Call, a community newsletter, to see if there were interest in starting a theater club. It started out with just a few of us getting together to forming a board and a year later applying for a nonprofit 501(c)(3) status."