The Empty Box reveals unintended drama

Posted November 12, 2020

Dd Empty Box

By Regina Belt-Daniels, The Northwest Herald

Long before I started reviewing, I enjoyed American Players Theatre’s productions in Spring Green, Wisconsin. APT’s 110 acres showcase two theater spaces in a lovely wooded hilly forest: the 1,148-seat outdoor amphitheater and the 200-seat indoor Touchstone Theatre. The USA’s second-largest outdoor theater is devoted to classical theater and produces eight plays during its June through October season.

With the pandemic forcing us to view entertainment from a safe distance, APT has kept its followers engaged with play readings in collaboration with PBS Wisconsin, and now with YouTube and website broadcasts of the very enjoyable "The Empty Box." The project is more descriptively explained as “tales of royal screw-ups and/or extraordinary scene chewing from the APT Core Company." It’s a tradition that originates from the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the award is literally an empty box.

The one-on-one interviews are brief, and one revealing episode follows the other. Most recently, actor and Director of Education David Daniel relayed what happened backstage during a production of one of my favorite plays, "The Royal Family."

Daniel was cast as Oscar, the burly, mustached manager. His routine was to go to his dressing room after scene two to have his dinner as he wasn’t due back onstage until scene five. Well, naturally, he had to remove his mustache to eat – and being a supportive ensemble member, he returned early to watch a scene backstage – well, I think you can fill in the blanks. But with his confessed 12-second sprint, perhaps he should consider entering the next summer Olympics.

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