(Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
(Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)

BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - To say that Amber Evans is a first-time drama director is a little misleading. Although technically she has never been a director, she is hardly a rookie on-stage or off.

"I started a little over 25 years ago," she shared. "I've done theatre for years. I was one of Jack Paulus' troops at the Stagecoach, and did that for years and years." Evans also has worked with Van Wert Civic Theatre and has been a part of two productions with Off Stage Productions - one in front of the curtain and one behind the scenes.

This time around, Evans is behind the scenes but running the show. She is directing the ghostly farce, "Honeymoon at Graveside Manor" to lead off Off Stage Productions' 10th anniversary season. The show will run Oct. 4-6, and Oct. 11-12. The play was written by Pat Cook and Evans has nothing but good things to say about it.

"I'm on the play-reading committee, and we picked the show," she said. "I read it, and this is one of the very best plays I've read in a very long time."

Moving to the director's chair means more than just getting more credit for Evans. There are a ton of tasks to be done. She is the person who shapes the show to her liking. The director blocks the show, which means Evans decides where actors are supposed to be on the set and where and when they move. There are many other things on her to-do list also. To speak with the Times Bulletin, Evans took a break from painting the set with her son at the Van Wert Senior Center, 220 Fox Rd., where the performances will be presented.

Overall, Evans has had a good time thus far in her directorial debut.

She stated, "It has been a learning experience. I've had a lot of fun doing this. I wasn't sure if I would like it or not, but I do. I do like it.

"The biggest challenge," she continued," is trying to get what I want extracted from the actors without having to demonstrate it. I want it to come from them. They have to build their own characters, and they have to be comfortable with their own characters. That was something I never had to do before."

Evans has an ace in the hole also - veteran director Steve Lane is her assistant director on the production.

Thus far, Evans said she has really enjoyed the characters take shape as the actors are growing into their roles.

"I have a wonderful cast. They are very talented, they take direction very well. It's going to be a wonderful show," Evans stated. "It is a family-friendly show. If you love to laugh, you don't want to miss this one. It will keep you laughing from beginning to end."

For evening performances of "Honeymoon at Graveside Manor," the doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. and curtain at 8 p.m. For the matinee show on Oct. 6, the doors will open at 12:30 p.m., with dinner at 1 p.m. and the show at 2 p.m. For reservations call the Off Stage Box Office between 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at (419) 605-6708.