Play about 1939 Chimacum Grange to be cast next week

CHIMACUM — Auditions for the world premiere of a one-act play written by a Port Townsend author, “The Grange,” are planned from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

Auditions for the roles of six women and one man will be at the grange hall at 9572 Rhody Drive — on state Highway 19 across from the Tri-Area Community Center in Chimacum.

“I’m very excited to see the community participation,” said author Angela Gyurko, who will direct the play.

“I hope people who’ve not done theater for awhile — or who have never done it — will give this a try. It’s a greatest short way to get involved with the community.”

The 40-minute play on time travel to Chimacum in 1939 will be performed as a fundraiser for the grange at 6 p.m. Feb. 9 and at 1 p.m. Feb. 10.

Gyurko said the idea for the play came out of a discussion at the Chimacum Grange’s 100th anniversary pancake breakfast in September.

She chose the year 1939 because the Chimacum Grange had just marked its 20th anniversary then, and because she found parallels between that time and modern events.

“As I read through the past minutes of the Grange meetings, it became clear that many of the societal shifts — new farmers coming to the area, rapidly changing world politics, industries closing down — were the same as today,” Gyurko said.

Auditions will consist of reading from the script. The pages used for the audition are expected to be posted on the Chimacum Grange website at www.chimacumgrange.org by today.

Here are descriptions of the characters.

• Zoe (modern) — Early teens. Her parents and grandparents jointly own and work a small farm and B&B in the Beaver Valley. This actor must have pierced ears.

• Tara (modern) — Early teens. She and her mom live in a yurt on Harmony’s family farm. She has lived in six states and three countries, as her mom is studying traditional fermenting and preserving techniques.

• Ruth (1939) — Late 40s. She is head of the Grange Home Economics Committee and has held a variety of leadership positions in the community.

• Mary (1939) — Late 20s. She is the head of the Grange Relief Committee, a member of the Home Economics Committee and the mother of three boys.

• James (1939) — Late 20s to early 30s. He is a member of the Grange Executive Committee, husband of Mary and owner of a dairy farm.

• Helen (1939) — Late teens. She is a newly married member of the Home Economics Committee. Her husband works at the Port Townsend Paper Mill, leaving her in charge of their 10-acre farm.

• Peggy (1939) — Late teens. She is a newly married member of the Home Economics Committee. Her husband owns the 20-acre farm. This actor must be able to cry frequently.

Gyurko’s first play — a one act titled “Triangles” — was performed in March at the Key City Public Theater’s PT Playfest.

“The Grange” is her second play.

She and her husband, Chris Swartz, and mother-in-law, Mary Jane Swartz, moved to Port Townsend from Minnesota three years ago.

“We’ve combined households,” she said.

Gyurko said she grew up as “a theater kid,” and co-directed and choreographed her step-daughter’s junior high school play in Minnesota.

Gyurko became involved with the grange through volunteer cooking and through her friend, Tia Hopkins of the Crooked Shepherd Farm, who is the event coordinator at the grange.

“We can together,” Gyurko said.

She said she had vowed to move to Port Townsend one day after visiting in 1987.

After seven years in Minnesota, she and her husband were able to move.

Rehearsals of her play will begin Jan. 15.

“I think it’s way too much fun,” Gyurko said.

Information sheets, audition forms and character descriptions can be found on the grange website, www.chimacumgrange.org.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].

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