By: Barbara Strauss
Not exactly what you might think of when pondering the history of Edgewater museum. However, October 26th and 27th found the production of Thamos, King of Egypt, a Heroic Drama in Five Acts, being performed at our museum. One of our board members, Morry Matson, owns Morry Matson Productions. You may remember him as the curator of two of our recent exhibits, Crime and the Community and Greetings from Edgewater. A few years ago, Morry came across this drama written by Tobias von Gebler in German. It had been rarely performed and never translated into English. It did, though, have incidental music written by Mozart. It took Morry a considerable amount of time to translate the drama into English and, when he completed it, Morry decided to produce the drama and asked the Edgewater Historical Society if it would allow him to rent the museum for a weekend in order to have a performance place for his production. Then, about 14 or 15 months ago, he asked eight people he knew if they would take part in the dramatization. It was one of those things where you say yes and sort of forget about it because it’s so far off. But time marches on and, the next thing the performers knew, they were being given the rehearsal schedule for this drama. Board members in the performance included Bob Remer, Kathryn Gemperle, Tiffany Middleton and her husband Jonas, Reggie Griffin and Barbara Strauss. Others were Brian Treglown, from Those were the Days Radio Players, and Lyle Nicholson, a friend of Morry’s.
The storyline was typical of the time period (think 17th and 18th century). There was intrigue in the court surrounding the king. It was generally thought by the people that the legitimate heir to the throne had been killed in infancy and the high priest killed at the same time. As the drama developed, you learned that this was not true – the infant girl and rightful heir to throne had been living at the King’s court all along under a different name, as had the high priest.
Rehearsals began on Monday, October 22nd with a read-through of the drama. Trying to learn the pronunciation of the many odd names and get a grasp of the story brought about many funny moments for the pseudo actors. Tuesday found the actors reading their lines once again and also learning where they were to be and when. This also brought much hilarity as they tried to remember left from right and their various cues.
On Wednesday, the actors read their lines, tried to remember their cues, and listened to the incidental music written by Mozart. Thursday evening was a dress rehearsal and, since the women in the play were all wearing white, keeping their apparel clean became of utmost importance. Morry’s friend, Lyle, provided refreshments, by way of a delicious cheesecake, and there was punch to drink.
The drama was performed on Friday and Saturday afternoons. People actually came to see it, enjoyed the drama and the music, the cast accepted the applause, the event was successful and certainly a first for EHS.