Members of the Wise County Historical Society, who put on the show, have not only had a hard time recruiting enough participants, but have watched as cast members suffered medical problems the week of the performances.
But the melodramatic rendition of “The Shagwood Secret” goes on as planned at the Wise County Heritage Museum in Decatur. The production was to be presented Friday, with a final showing at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We’ve had our work cut out for us,” said stage crew member and museum volunteer Carla Womack. “We were afraid we were not going to be able to do it, but people have really stepped up. As they say, the show must go on.”
Director Lou Ramos of Rhome, who also plays Cyril C. Snerdley – a character “not quite mean and nasty” enough to be the No. 1 villain – contracted bronchitis last week.
“I was going to show up in a stretcher if I had to,” he said at rehearsal Thursday. “Thankfully, it doesn’t look like I’ll have to. I did bring my inhaler, though.”
Before the illness, Ramos struggled to fill the cast, delaying the original September production dates.
A few weeks later, the cast was filled and the Oct. 12 and 13 performance dates determined. That cast included Kim Saling – until a couple of weeks ago.
“Her knee has gone out, ” said Kerry Clower, historical society president and lighting and sound for the production. “She’ll be having surgery next week, but that’s the second time they’ve rescheduled it.”
Dana Goodwin-Gillock of Rhome stepped in and, with only three rehearsals under her belt, is ready for the role of Delores Divine, described as “beautiful, shapely, greedy and mean clear through.”
“I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” she said. “I’ve got most of the lines down, but it’s kind of hard because we whisper them, so it’s not easy to pick up on cues from other’s lines.”
The 45-minute production is staged as a silent film.
“Hopefully with audience participation,” Clower said.
Snake Diamond, played by Ronnie Moore of Rhome, is an evil and scheming man who, with Delores Divine, sets a trap for Ethelburt Shagwood, played by 20-year-old Ethan Byrd of Bridgeport, who owns a mountain of gold. Delores attempts to distract Shagwood to get to his riches.
Chloe Clod, played by 18-year-old Morgan Hoover of Newark, attempts to warn Shagwood. Little does the unwitting young woman, who is “pure-hearted as a daisy,” know but she is an heiress in her own right. All ends happily when “The Shagwood Secret” is revealed.
The local production also enlists the help of Womack, Shelbi and Shayna Byrd of Bridgeport, Robert and Russell Gillock of Rhome and Madison Hoover of Newark as crew members, with James Taylor of Decatur “tickling the ivories.”
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 12, and free for kids 5 and under. All proceeds benefit the museum.