Temple Drama Club to celebrate belated anniversary next spring

  • The Temple Drama Club performs a variety show in 1982, in one of the oldest existing photos in the club's archives. COURTESY PHOTO—

  • Club member Julie McAdoo, who organized a history display for the Temple Drama Club during last Saturday's Harvest Festival, points to an original listing of the club's 14 founding members. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • A display of props from former Temple Drama Club productions was on display at the Temple Town Hall during the town's Harvest Festival on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • A display of props from former Temple Drama Club productions was on display at the Temple Town Hall during the town's Harvest Festival on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Temple Drama Club President Steve Cullinan, left, speaks with David Rosen of Temple about props used by the club throughout the years during a exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the club at the Temple Town Hall on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/28/2022 1:58:01 PM

After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Temple Drama Club is prepared to make its triumphant return to the Town Hall stage next spring to mark a belated 50th anniversary.

On Saturday, at the town’s Harvest Festival, the club took over the Town Hall to recognize the club’s long history, with a display of props that have been used over the years and photos and videos of past performances.

The club has not put on a performance since 2019 – the advent of COVID-19 restrictions shutting down large gatherings in the town’s public buildings and preventing rehearsals or shows. The restrictions had been lifted by 2021, but not with enough time for the club’s usual writing sessions and rehearsals that lead to the spring performance.

Club President Steve Cullinan said the group considered a virtual performance, but ultimately decided that the “community” aspect of community theater was what made it special, and held off until they could once again meet in person and perform for a live crowd.

“Part of the fun has always been being able to gather in person,” said club member Julia McAdoo, who organized the club’s history display for the Temple Harvest Festival.

The club was started in 1970, by then-President Millicent Dumaine, with a total of 14 members. It started as a variety show, and soon became a popular club, with a huge cast, musical numbers and skits.

“Millie was the type of person to say, ‘I have a part for you.’ And you didn’t really have an option to say no,” said Cullinan. Indeed, he said, this was how he  joined the club in 1988, and  it has been a crucial recruitment tactic for him since, he joked.

The club has gone through several iterations since it began, but these days, is mainly back to its roots, Cullinan said – a few short skits written by  club members in the first half of the show, followed by a professionally written play in the second half.

One aspect of the performance that has become a staple is the “Temple Chronicle,” a faux-news show focused on town happenings over the past year, a playful rendition of the local town gossip.

Music also often plays a part, with original ditties and often-humorous lyrics (“Welcome to the 40th show, we’ve been rehearsing 40 years,” proclaims a song that opened the last anniversary show) and riff off of popular existing tunes. “There’s No Meeting Like Town Meeting” to the tune of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and “Mr. Plowman,” based on “Mr. Sandman,” are a few examples of past renditions.

“It’s a riot. We get together, and as they say, hilarity ensues,” McAdoo said.

“This is very ‘community theater,’ but we also do some very nice, professional stuff,” said Cullinan. “It’s a great way to meet your neighbors, and be introduced to a new circle of people.”

In past years, the cast has included people of all ages, including young children, sometimes including multiple generations of a single family. With the club restarting this year, Cullinan encouraged those who have any interest in either the stage or working behind the scenes to get involved and carry on the town tradition.

“Some of us are getting on. Maybe we’re not over the hill, but we’re climbing it,” Cullinan said. “We need the next generation.”

The Temple Drama Club is expected to begin to meet again after New Year’s Day, to begin scouting scripts and writing material, with a performance expected in the spring of 2023. The club will be inviting back its 2019 members but is also open to new members.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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