On The Coast: Chincoteague Island Gets Very First Theater Company (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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On The Coast: Chincoteague Island Gets Very First Theater Company

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
Time now to leave D.C. behind and go "On the Coast." That's our regular segment from our trusty coastal reporter, Bryan Russo. And today, Bryan takes us to tiny Chincoteague Island, on the eastern shore of Virginia. It's a place best known for its natural beauty and its wild ponies. But that's not all going on over there these days.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:39
This is a scene from Joseph Kesselring's 1939 play, "Arsenic and Old Lace," which was recently performed by the Chincoteague Island Theatre Company, a new troupe which is giving some local residents their very first chance in the spotlight. Bryan visited a rehearsal and talked with founder Lexi Hubb about why she wanted to bring theater to this small seaside community.

MS. LEXI HUBB

00:00:59
I'm originally from York County, Pennsylvania. I grew up in community theater. I started when I was eight. I did musicals in high school, and plays in high school, and I was still doing plays at two different community theaters. I majored in theater at Tulsa University. And then I moved to New York, and I thought, I'm gonna do the New York directing thing. And that went well for a little bit, but then I came to a point where I was able to -- you know, I had a lot of possibilities, and I decided my parents were retiring to Chincoteague and I said, I'll come too, you know?

MS. LEXI HUBB

00:01:32
The sunsets are pretty. And, you know, I was throwing ideas around with my Mom, like, do you think they would want to do plays or start a theater company? So, you know, I did research and found the Chinco Cultural Alliance and emailed them. And they emailed me back pretty promptly. And it was actually Bill Rocksler, who is in this play. And he said, sure, why don't you come and propose your ideas at this winter retreat that we have? And that was in March of 2011. And I came and I said, you know, I'm Lexi Hubb and I want to start a theater company.

MR. BRYAN RUSSO

00:02:02
And what was the reaction? Did people scoff at the idea or think, well, there's no way we could do that.

HUBB

00:02:06
They were really excited, actually. Cause a lot of them had come from towns and cities where they had community theaters. And they might have done theater in college or high school or something, so they were really excited. And I had a lot of big ideas, and I think I proposed this really big circus type idea. And they were like, OK, sure. We'll help you. And they really did, in terms of volunteers and sponsors and whatnot. So they've always been my sponsor. They serve now as my physical sponsor. They allowed me to kind of go under their nonprofit umbrella.

HUBB

00:02:42
And they've been really great with allowing me to pick the programming that we do, and you know, letting me make my own decisions. It wasn't easy at first, getting them really excited, and I'm also much younger than they are.

RUSSO

00:02:54
Right. That's one thing I wanted to point out. Because casting, when you're putting together a play in New York, for instance.

HUBB

00:03:00
Yes.

RUSSO

00:03:01
You have a different pool of people to choose from.

HUBB

00:03:03
You can have anybody.

RUSSO

00:03:04
Right. All age groups. Then, down here, which, traditionally, there are many people who retire here, much like your parents, tell me some of the challenges about trying to cast a play here.

HUBB

00:03:15
There are many challenges. One was that there are lots of older retirees here. And so if I need adult actors, that's great. And I've actually conformed some plays, with permission from playwrights, to make them, you know, the senior generation. I'm pretty certain I'm the only one who started a community theater in a town that hasn't had one, so that's -- when I look at what they're doing, like on Facebook, I'm like, oh, look at what they're doing. Their shows -- they have money to do shows, and they look so good. So I get self conscious about that, and then I take a step back and realize, I'm younger than everybody's kids.

HUBB

00:03:57
And to convince them that I knew what I was talking about -- it took time.

SHEIR

00:04:07
That was Lexi Hubb of the Chincoteague Island Theatre Company, speaking with coastal reporter, Bryan Russo. The company's next show, "Murder at the Banquet," is coming up April 25th and 26th. We have more information on our website, metroconnection.org.
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