The Germantown Museum

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In Times Past………..
By Andy Pouncey
March 29, 2007

I can’t believe that this weekend the play, Germantown Stories, opens at Germantown Community Theatre (GCT)!  I know my place on stage and the transitions between scenes, but I have got to spend every free moment on my lines.

How did I get involved in this?  Well, they heard that I knew some Germantown stories and I shared those with the playwright.  He said that I would fit the role of the narrator just fine.  Truth is, there isn’t even a part for a narrator.  Now, I am speaking or narrating all through this play.

The ten of us have become somewhat of a family, to the point of looking after each other’s lines.  Now we have a play consisting of many stories from many people that reflect on Germantown now and then.

Bill Baker, a University of Memphis professor, is the playwright.  Interestingly, he continued to finish writing the play even after we began rehearsing.  He reasoned that he wanted to see how the material developed before he wrote the ending.  This process appears to be working well.  What do I know about theatre?

In 1972, the same year that the Germantown Woman’s Club created the Germantown Community Theater, I was on stage as Fred in our church’s version of The Christmas Carol.  The Cathedral Players staged that production in Overton Square on a Saturday afternoon, and at that point, I vowed never to go on stage again. 

Thirty-five years later, I’ve changed and the GCT continues to provide wonderful entertainment for this community.  Heh…it’s great therapy.  Loosens one up.      

Using the lines, “if you could tell a story to shape someone’s view of the world, what would you share?  What would you learn?  How are we different?  How are we the same?”…the play explores different stories of Germantown that have shaped the community. 

Whether 1957 or 2007, is a drug store like Posey’s (the mom and pop stores)  on Poplar much different than the present-day Starbucks (corporate worldwide), also on Poplar?  Physically, is the GCT much different than the Forest Hill School which it now occupies?  Are there any ghosts of teachers there?

What was it like in that meeting of the Germantown Woman’s Club when the GCT was first discussed?  Do you think they all agreed?  Was there a concern about naked actors in the first play?  What were auditions like?

And then there are the current issues floating around, the horse and the leaf, and Smart Growth, or the old issues like why did they wait so long to give Poplar and Germantown Road a traffic light?  Most importantly, why doesn’t Starbucks serve apple pie?

The actors range in age from very young to mature (there that sounds better) such that I had to bring in a photo of Pat Boone in 1955 and sing a few lines from Tutti Frutti, so they could know that there were others besides Elvis.  I just couldn’t hit the high notes on April Love so I didn’t try.

And don’t worry, no unsuspecting audience members are dragged up on stage, no audience member is singled out and serenaded, nor do we clap if it is your birthday.

Get there early so you don’t miss Harry Cloyes’ artwork in the hall.  We have chosen eight of his many paintings of Germantown buildings.

Come one, come all, to GCT’s production of Germantown Stories, Friday (March 30) and Saturday (March 31) at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday (April 1) at 2:30 p.m.  I can hear Tiny Tim saying “And God Bless Us, Everyone at GCT today.”

This is why they don’t give me many lines…….

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