The first show in Hudson Players' 2013-14 season, "Black Comedy" by Peter Shaffer, will be helmed by veteran actor and director Twinsburg resident Claudia Lillibridge.
Lillibridge, whose recently directed shows include "The Secret Garden" in spring 2012 and "The Mousetrap" in fall 2012, has appeared on and offstage at numerous local theaters.
"The thing I most enjoy about acting is being able to become another character for the enjoyment or entertainment of others," Lillibridge said. "I feel most alive when I am onstage and I have been honored to work with some really, really talented individuals both onstage and off. From those experiences, I took the leap to directing. I have found recently, and especially with working at Hudson again for 'Black Comedy,' the thrill of teamwork and imparting my knowledge to the cast -- which is the one thing in directing I find most satisfying, witnessing the discovery the actors experience during the rehearsal period to the time of performance. The transformation is always exciting and satisfying to me."
Lillibridge said she got her start in theater early on.
"My first foray into theater, if you will, was riding my tricycle in the gymnasium of Roxbury Elementary in Solon during a kindergarten 'play,' singing, how appropriately, 'I'm Riding My Tricycle All Over Town,'" she said. "I was very active musically in school and once I hit high school, became active in its theatre. I studied theatre in college at Baldwin-Wallace and the rest in history."
One thing Lillibridge said that was enjoyable about directing "Black Comedy" is the cast and crew, and their willingness "to go all out, as the show has a lot of physical comedy and technical intricacies and all involved have been so willing to work hard to make my vision come to fruition."
"We've had some bruises, no hospital visits yet (knock on wood!)," she said. "The challenge of the show, without giving too much away, is that action onstage is quite different that what one would expect in a comedy or in fact, really any theatrical production. I will just say the action is fast-paced, funny and quite opposite of what everyone is accustomed to. The technicality for the actors as well as crew has probably been the most difficult aspect of the show for me."
In the play, a fuse blows in artist Brindsley Miller's apartment, which means the cast is forced to feel their way around stage, providing hilarious comedy for audience members.
"Black Comedy" cast member Mark Moore stated in a media release that he "appreciates the fun that Claudia brings to their rehearsals."
"She is extremely organized as a director," Moore said. "She has a clear vision and a plan to achieve it. However, the best part of working with Claudia is watching her squeal with delight when she likes your action or delivery; she claps her hands and jumps up and down like a schoolgirl."
"Black Comedy" opens Nov. 1 and runs Friday and Saturdays through Nov. 16, with an ASL interpreted performance on Nov. 2. Curtain time is 8 p.m. and reservations can be made by calling the box office at 330-655-8522 or by logging onto www.HudsonPlayers.com.