So, some of you know that a private performance of one of my plays, “Improvisation”, was recently auctioned off at a fundraiser in Helena, Montana. I came up with this idea about a year ago, looking for ways that what I do can benefit others and also wanting to get more involved with the theatre community at the place I’ve come to call home since marrying Mark in 2010. I called a group of my favorite actors together and threw out the idea and it seemed to stick. Since “Improvisation” has a cast of three women, I approached three of the best and asked if they were interested and was thrilled that all three agreed. The concept of a private performance in a private home dates back to parlor plays and house concerts popular in French literary circles during the 17th and 18th centuries. The idea resurfaced a few years back and has gained momentum in some areas of the country. I love the idea and have toyed with trying it out for sometime. We have a beautiful, unnecessarily large home… a private lodge… the perfect test site. And so, we began rehearsing the play in January to have a good foundation in place by the time of the fundraiser (Paint the Town Pink in support of the Florence Crittenton Home for Teen Moms and their babies) on Feb. 2 and enlisted the support of other sponsors including the best caterer in town (Marci’s catering) and Mountain View Meadows, LLC to provide the alcohol and other drinks and Sierra Custom Homes to pay the actors…Yes, actors should be paid. And seldom are. As we also think we are doing playwrights a favor when we produce their work. But that’s another issue. So, I’m sitting at the table at the fundraiser, a lovely catered event with both a silent and live auction and dancing to a live band, and I am terrified no one will bid. And yes, I asked a friend before the auction began to bid, just so I wouldn’t be embarrassed. The “Dramatic Evening at the Elhorn View Lodge” brought a winning bid of $5,000…a combined effort by two wonderful benefactors who pulled their resources together to outbid any others in the room. I cannot tell you my relief, my joy and my excitement and my thankfulness to Jim and Scott whose generosity supports the outstanding services provided at the Florence Crittenton Home and will allow us to dip our toes into unknown waters and see if this idea of parlor plays can take root. And after all this, I know you are wondering why I titled this blog, “Herding Casts.” Well, it comes from having the most amazing cast, that is so involved in theatre and life (that’s why they are so good) that it is like herding cats to set the performance date when you add in the schedules of our equally amazing benefactors. So, as each date is set, and struck, we continue to try to herd our cast in a single direction that will lead to that one golden weekend when everyone is free and we can bring our show to fruition. We’ll get there, I promise… cast and all!