I attended the Ohio Community Theatre Association 2010 state conference over Labor Day weekend. The theme was “yo-ho-ho on the Ohio” so the Holiday Inn Eastgate in Cincinnati was transformed into a pirate ship, even the hotel staff was decked out in skull and crossbones bandanas and the like. Everywhere you went a crazed pirate was yelling “Arrrrrrrr” at you, regardless of how annoying that was, it sure showed the spirit of the southwest region as they did a wonderful job on planning and executing a great weekend.

I decided to forego some of my usual partying and late night hours to attend an extended workshop on becoming an OCTA responder.

Nine and a half hours of class were required along with watching every excerpt and listening to all the responder’s comments, then about six more hours of homework. It was a hectic schedule, working through lunch and then trying to make the time for all the paperwork that was required, but it was fun, educational for sure and I am happy to say my name should be added to the “list” of potential responders and guides for the upcoming season.

We saw some great theatre too; the highlights for me were the excerpts from Hidden in this Picture, the M Word, Post-its, Accomplice, and Ravenscroft (Sandusky Harlequins’). Other shows represented were Godspell ( a unique version set in Iraq),The Pirates of Penzance, Wally’s Café, 2 cuttings from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Don’t Hug Me (Playmakers Civic Theater), The Kitchen Witches, Tick, Tick, Boom and Songs For A New World (3B Productions).

In this class I learned what positive things the responders look for and some of the no-no’s that as respondees and audience members for some time have wondered about. Regardless if I am called to respond to any theatres or festivals, what I learned can be translated into useful information for upcoming OCTAfest casts and directors.

Next years state conference will be in Perrysburg at the Holiday Inn French quarter, so I hope that one of the several shows in this year’s season that could compete for us in June will do well and we can showcase for the entire state what is great from FCT. It has been a number of years since we have even mounted an excerpt to go to the regional, so let us hope we can go all the way in 2010!