By Brooke Reid
You can’t have theatre without an audience, and Mark Nathanielsz understands that well.
This month the local director sends eight actors onstage at the Scarborough Village Theatre to perform Jake’s Women.
However, he’d like a larger audience at the theatre to see them.
“Society today isn’t the same as it was 50 years ago,” Nathanialsz says. “People are too preoccupied with themselves.
“They’re too selfish with their time and therefore fewer people are taking an interest in community theatre.”
Founded by the late John Caldwell in 1958, the Scarborough Players celebrate their 50th anniversary this year.
“I think part of the problem is the age at which audience members start coming to the theatre,” Nathanielsz says. “Thirty years ago, the theatre was one of the only entertainment options and audiences were developed a lot sooner.”
However, technology has changed that drastically and with so many entertainment options, “that’s when community theatres start struggling with diminishing audiences.”
Jake’s Women, running now until Oct. 18, was written by Neil Simon and was first produced in 1990.
“Sixteen years ago I assistant-directed this play. It’s been my dream ever since to direct it on my own,” he said. “Overall, I think the play has gone pretty smoothly.
“The cast is very creative, dedicated and they’re all very supportive of each other.”
But as swimmingly as the production is going, some audience members can’t understand why the cast’s wardrobes are so dated, and why there were American historical references, like the one to Mayor Ed Koch for instance, who served as the Mayor of New York City during the late 1980s.
“I thought it might have been a budget issue or something,” Rob Lee says, who was on his maiden voyage to the Scarborough Village Theatre. “And I couldn’t understand why they kept referring to Jake’s computer as a word processor.”