A celebratory clink of glasses and it was official- I was on the Critical Point Theatre team as a Stage Manager to travel with Matt Schott’s show Refresh for the summer.
I’ll be the first to admit then I’m one of the newer kids to the theater world when it comes to the CPT ensemble. As a band kid in high school, the only drama I dealt with until college was in the “who’s dating who” category. However, when an introductory film class led me to the Theatre & Cinema department at Virginia Tech and to this great group of people, I was overly thankful for the chance to catch up.
In a world of instant gratification, one of the first lessons I had to learn was that theatre, and those brave members of a community attempting to cultivate it, takes time to develop. What was nice is I was learning this about theater around the same time I was cultivating my own love of viticulture and wine, and I’ve found some parallels in my experiences in both fields.
What do wine and a theater ensemble have in common, though?
First, you’ve got to start with the right dirt. Whether it’s the sand of California or old roots in France, if you don’t have a good place to grow- your grapes are done for. Here at CPT, I’ve found a lot of healthy nutrients to start us off- the friendly yet professional atmosphere, the ambition, the sheer experience and talent of this group of people. We’re that dark soil with the streaks of sand you find in Virginia for those deep purple Norton grapes and the fresh young grapes of Viognier the region is becoming known for. It’s unique; a step away for the Old World varieties and yet- everyone’s craving a taste.
But just like a complex red or a sweet, sultry white- it takes time, great care, and patience for a theatre ensemble to grow. I’ve found each project must be like the careful process of a vineyard master: from starting as just a glimmer of an idea to bottling a success, there’s the preparations, the meticulous blending of ideas, practice runs, taste tests, finally you think it’s ready! But wait- it must age a little bit. Give it time!
And just like a vineyard, with its diverse varieties of grapes ready to be plucked at different times of the year, individual projects of CPT are at different points in the growing stage. I’m so excited to be traveling with Refresh- we’re in the days of harvest here, ready to pack up and share the show with Blacksburg VA, New York, DC, and Edinburgh, Scotland!
So here’s to the coming vintages of Critical Point Theatre. We hope you enjoy. Cheers!