When Do Old Actors Retire? They Don’t!

by Randy G. Powell, Guest Writer

Theater is about life from birth to death; therefore, we need actors to play those parts. Last year at the age of 71, I appeared onstage with a one-year-old. We both enjoyed the experience. I have been active in theater for over 54 years, and I don’t regret a single moment of a single show of which I have been a part.

It started as a character role of Poohbah in The Mikado at the age of 14. As an actor I like to be challenged whether it be serious drama, comedy, or a musical. I have even made a couple of commercials and appeared in cameo roles in student videos. My favorite acting roles were Fagan in Oliver and President Franklin Roosevelt in Annie. Then again, my most satisfying role was Jacob in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. As I get older it is harder to remember the lines and some of the physical requirements of being on stage, but I won’t give up. My most recent role was Mr. Lynch in Grease in Provo, Utah. I traveled there twice at the invitation of my “protege” (she has far surpassed me) Chandra Orme who directs a company of kids from toddlers to 18-year-olds. I am given cameo roles of the old man in the casts where the oldest is at least 52 years younger than I am.

As the Artistic Director for Ludlow Village Players (LVP) I have found a home where I have the time to direct quality community theater for a thankful and enthusiastic audience. It is impossible to fill Val Durling’s shoes, but I do have a mission to build the LVP offerings and educational outreach. We need more young people! I like creative “outside the box” auditions and shows that offer drama, comedy, and music. We are also looking into more food events like Dessert and Dinner Theater. Heaven help us, we are even investigating the need for a children’s theater in Port Ludlow. The LVP Board has been very supportive even as I stretch their limits on what we can offer.

My background includes writing and directing television commercials, a historical documentary, and directing a 200-voice choir with 20 bagpipers for the Cathedral in Boise, Idaho. Add to that over 90 theater productions, and I qualify as an “Old Actor.” I like a challenge. If you are shy, have stage fright, think you can’t sing or maybe want to be behind the scenes…write me…let’s talk. I am thrilled to share my enthusiasm. Maybe you can help me by viewing my first effort at writing a one-act play titled Joshua Cain.

In short, I love theater; I love the Port Ludlow community; I hope we continue to work together. After all, it is “Community” theater.

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” —Oscar Wilde