BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Center Stage Theater in Biloxi is about to make a comeback. After going dark for more than a year because of COVID-19, the theater will be back in just two and a half weeks to do what it does best, live performance.
On May 6th, the curtain will open for the first time in more than a year.
“We’re hoping that this is going to fill the bill for people who are just dying to come back and see something,” said Center Stage Artistic Director Chuck White. “It’s a lot of fun to watch this show.”
But instead of a large ensemble, there will be just one actor. The person selected by White to kick off the rebirth of the stage: Veteran actor David Slatten.
“I got to say, it’s definitely an honor,” Slatten said. “I mentioned that to my wife. I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m the first guy back, first show back and it’s just me’.”
In the one-man show, “Fully Committed” Slatten plays a reservation desk clerk in a high-end Manhattan restaurant, and in that scenario, he will perform about 40 characters.
Slatten has 32 shows at Center Stage under his belt, including the last show the theater did before shutting down “Other People’s Money.” However, this is the first time he’s ever done a one-person show, especially one of this magnitude.
“Quite honestly, I love a good challenge,” he said. “One of the reasons Chuck asked me to do this is because it’s kind of my thing. In theater, I love doing these character bits - these different voices and dialects. As a matter of fact, a couple of my characters from other plays have somehow managed to find their way into this play. I’m basically carrying on a conversation with myself. I talk to myself for an hour and a half.”
The theater decided this 90-minute, non-stop show was the best way to re-open its doors.
“We didn’t have to worry about wearing masks in rehearsal because it was just the one actor,” White said. “And we didn’t have to worry about an intermission when we had an audience in here. It just felt like it was the perfect show. I think others are doing the right now, too, probably for the very same reason.”
And as far as pressure on this re-opening, White said it’s nothing unusual.
“No, I don’t feel pressure to do extra well because I think we always do extra well,” said Slatten. “How’s that for an answer!”
The audience will be limited to 50 percent capacity, members will be socially distanced, and masks will be required.
For more information on dates, times and ticket ordering, click here.