Tale as Old as Time

“Acting Out” of My Comfort Zone

by McKenzey Testerman

When I think about my experience with Acting Out Theater Co. this summer, lots of memories and emotions flood my mind. There were some nights, like the June bug massacre, when I was prone to wonder, “Why are we doing this outside?”  But there were other nights when the sun would be setting in the castle’s west wing and it all made sense.

A pivotal moment for me was opening night. We had all gotten our hair and makeup done, we had our costumes on, and we were ready to go. It started to get a little cloudy so we were looking at the radar on our phones. We watched as the storm started to head our way, growing bigger and bigger. Most of us had already been delivered to the stage, so we loaded back into the van and headed for shelter, all the while hoping we wouldn’t need it. We piled into the Farm House and waited it out.

Though our hearts were sinking, we kept our spirits up. Saying things like “Oh it’ll be past us by 8:30”. Then when 8:30 passed but the storm didn’t, we said, “It’ll definitely be gone by 9:00,” but we didn’t get to find out. The show was cancelled at 8:40. When Sharon came into the room to tell us that they were going to call it, you could feel the disappointment in the air. But you could also feel the love.

It was on tough nights like that one that our cast became a family. At the time, I could not see a silver lining on a single one of those storm clouds, but the rain that weekend left us with rainbows and cooler weather. God had our backs all along. And, because of the storm, I got to spend an extra day, singing and dancing, with my wonderful cast.

Every hot and humid night, every disappointing rain cloud, and every single bug bite was made worth it when we stepped out on that stage and were met with the lit up faces of little girls dressed in yellow ball gowns as well as those of parents and grandparents.  Magic has no age limit.

They didn’t know that it took three months to nail our harmony, they didn’t know that I had to duct tape my strapless bra to myself because it lost its stickiness two shows ago, and they definitely didn’t know about that time a June bug flew out of Louis’ mouth.

All they knew was that Belle was falling in love with the Beast at their local Perry Farm: a place they might drive by every day, a place they might never have given a second glance. But now, there’s magic there. Even after the costumes are sent back and the stage is torn down, the community will still be able to reminisce about the beauty and love that was brought to life there.

Theater blurs the line between fantasy and reality just enough so we can drift away from the struggles of this life for just an hour or two and fall in love with a beast right alongside of a beauty. And that’s why I’m a theater kid.

Theater, like Belle’s time with the Beast, is not easy. You might not walk away unscathed but you will also not walk away unchanged.

So as I’m sitting here, receiving Snapchats of everyone’s new haircuts (you know it’s over when everyone chops their hair off), I’m not dwelling on all the hardships. I am dwelling on the blessings of the summer and thanking the Lord for every single person who, because of this production, has changed my life. Thank you.

Tale as Old as Time

A Beautiful Experience

By Sergio Pena Pacheco
This was my first show with Acting Out Theatre Company.  It was a beautiful experience, and I can’t wait to do it again.  Everything from the stage being built to a delayed opening night was amazing.  I loved all the costumes put together with the lights, set, and props.  The great outdoors reduced us as being bug food some nights, but it was worth it.   I made a bunch of new friends.  The whole cast was fun to hang with and welcoming to new cast members.  Each cast member spent time getting to know each other and was willing to take time to help me!  From sharing bug spray to exchanging helpful hints, we were all there for each other.

Beauty and the Beast was a huge opportunity for me to grow.  I was extremely nervous walking into auditions, and I had no idea what to expect.  It was intimidating sitting among people I knew had way more experience than me.  However, as I met new people and learned about all their experiences, I was able to relax and enjoy rehearsals.  Sharon made me feel so welcome, like I was supposed to be there, and Kendra was very understanding and patient with me learning new dances.  By the time show time came, I was so proud of myself for how far I had come.  Walking onto that stage, I knew I was part of the Acting Out family, and it feels amazing to belong to a group like that.

I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.  It truly takes a village to bring a show to the community, so thanks again to staff and cast of Acting Out.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!



Beauty and The Beast

Our Friday night performance was canceled. Please retain your ticket stub and join us for our performances on Sunday or Monday evening.

Additional tickets for Monday Night’s performance are available ONLINE HERE. 


Dates: July 21, 22 & 23, 2017
Location: Perry Farm Park, Bourbonnais, Il  60914
Showtime: 8:00 PM
Rain Dates: July 24 (now added) & 25 (will only be added in the event of a second rain cancelation)
Pre-show Enchanted French Market: 5:30 – 7:30
Tickets: $18 ($25 at the gate)  available at Perry Farm House, King MusicJoy’s Hallmark and ONLINE HERE (service charge applies).

Gates open at 5:15  Bring a lawn chair!

Continue reading “Beauty and The Beast” »

Tale as Old as Time

Tale as Old as Time with a Twist!

Well it’s tech week and all of our hard work is starting to pay off. We will have a coming together of all of the parts this week and boy is it exciting. Saturday night was the Sitzprobe, a seated rehearsal where the actors first sing with the orchestra, and really just WOW! Our light and sound technicians are “in the house” ready to make their magic. Finally most of the set and stage are finished, with a few touch ups here and there happening this week. Costumes are rented, sewn and constructed and gathered in the Perry Farm House.  Beautiful props a plenty are assembled with set pieces in pods behind the stage. Our make up and hair teams have been assembled. And oh yeah, puppets and puppet stage are ready to go!!

We decided to open our show in a less conventional manner, the Prologue will begin with a puppet show. We are very excited about this innovative twist. The Prince, Beggar Woman and Enchantress are created and standing by to start our show!

They,  along with the rest of the cast and crew look forward to seeing you this weekend at Perry Farm Park!

Tickets are $18 and are available at Joy’s Hallmark and King Music Inc and the Perry Farm House (cash or check) or online HERE!



Tale as Old as Time

Why We Do What We Do

By Nick Adams

My first experience with Acting Out and outdoor theatre has been a challenging one. From receiving a role I did not expect, to the many nights of long rehearsals and rainstorms. I say challenging, not in a negative way, but in the most positive way possible.

I have been stretched and have grown as an actor, have met many new friends, and have learned to go with the flow and be flexible (especially when unexpected storms blow through!). But all of the stress, fatigue, and worry will pale in comparison to the end result. The payoff.

The moment the orchestra plays the overture, all of the stress of the past few months melts away with the music, and the cast comes out and puts on the best show they can. And the second the audience applauds for the first time, we all remember why we do what we do. Why we put ourselves through these trying experiences and rough moments that come with putting on a show.
It’s worth it.

As actors, it is worth it to lose sleep and be worn out from long, hot nights of rehearsal, only to do it again the next night. When we see how the show we’ve worked so hard on come to life and wow you, the audience, we would do it all again in a heartbeat. Without an audience, what we do is meaningless. So thank you to all who support the arts and give meaning to what we as actors do, and for making our challenges worth it.

Tale as Old as Time

Be Our Guest at the Enchanted French Market

By Kirsten Bishir
It’s July and final preparations are in full swing to create our magical escape to the French Countryside.  This year we are inviting you to Be Our Guest as we transform an area of Perry Farm into an enchanted French Market.  The scene is already idyllic with open grassy fields, and shaded glens, and denser forests.

Along the edge of this we will place our French Market.  Vendors selling amazing food, fruit, flowers and more.

Some  of our favorite Vendors will return this year.  The Bennett Curtis House will be there serving Cornish Hens and Smoked Turkey Legs for the Gaston in all of us.  Sweet Street will again be serving snow cones, and popcorn and other treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.  The Nuns of St. Roger Abbey will be back taking all of us to France with their Organic French Pastries, Tarts, and Macarons.  Oberweis Dairy will be there to cool us off with their ice cream and sundaes, always popular with our patrons.  Panozzo’s Fruit Stand will be offering fresh fruits, and flowers for your special someone or your favorite cast member.  Add in Crème of the Crop and Bulls BBQ and there is something for everyone!  We have other special activities and photo opportunities being planned and the park offers its own opportunities for fun.

We are working hard to prepare for you, our guests, so arrive early, gates open at 5:30 pm, place your chairs, and Be Our Guests.



Tale as Old as Time

The Comfort & Freedom of Outdoors

By Helen Berdebes
The theatre is a place where I have always found refuge. There is something incredible about showing up somewhere and being able to shed the day’s troubles, becoming a completely new person. I have been in many shows throughout high school and college, but this is my very first community theatre production. With all of my previous production experiences the refuge was found in a traditional theatre building. While I have an extreme love for indoor theatre, nothing could prepare me for the beauty of an outdoor community theatre experience.

A few days ago we had our first of many full cast outdoor rehearsals at the stage. I showed up prepared with my bug spray and chair, unsure of how I felt, trading the safety of the indoor theatre for the outside. I quickly realized that I had nothing to fear, the precious indoor theatres will always be there, but this was a special treat. There is a freeing feeling about spending evenings creating art outdoors. It almost seems as though we are transcending time back to a simpler place where you would stay out with friends after dark playing make believe with the fireflies.

It is a treasure to find this mindset of joy and peace that can often seem to vanish from adult life. As if being outdoors is an old friend and you can’t help but to smile, embrace them, and pick up where you left off. The magic of the outdoor theatre truly creates an atmosphere of nostalgia and summer at its finest.

There is no age limit to this freedom. The oldest members of the cast strike up conversations with the youngest and people from different walks of life share their stories and bring their various experiences to the table. All walls are broken down when we hit Perry Farm. The comfort and freedom of the outdoors makes it feel less intimidating to ask questions of those more experienced. The knowledge and talent is free flowing in all directions and fosters a great environment for performers to grow and flourish.

This bonding allows something truly magical to come to life. When the cast comes together and feels this fleeting lift, it is sure to permeate through to the audience as well. I am thankful to have a place to create this sort of magic and comfort for others fueling catharsis through the overwhelming joy of outdoor theatre. Come see Acting Out Theatre Company’s Beauty and the Beast at Perry Farm and enjoy a truly enchanted evening under the stars with us.

Tale as Old as Time

An Audition Experience

By Lauren Rybolt

For the past several years, I had the honor of playing my violin in the orchestra for Acting Out Theater Company. I planned on continuing to play for this year’s production, until it was announced that this year’s production would be Beauty and the Beast. My heart skipped a few beats, and I immediately decided I would not be playing my violin in the orchestra for the 2017 summer production. I decided that I would be auditioning for the Acting Out Theater Company’s production of Beauty and the Beast.

I anxiously waited several months for the audition form to be posted on the AOTC website, and the minute the form was posted, I prayed while I provided each line of vital information. After selecting the perfect headshot, I submitted my completed audition form, and began to prepare for what was to be the most incredible audition of my life. I have never auditioned for Acting Out before, and did not know what to expect come audition day. If you have ever dreamed of performing with Acting Out, I strongly encourage you to audition for next year’s production. I can honestly say the audition process with Acting Out Theater Company will most likely be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

A few months passed since I submitted my audition form, and audition day had finally arrived. I entered the audition space, and received a paper number, along with a shiny new safety pin. The audition process began shortly after I arrived, and the directors arranged us on deck in ascending order. As I entered the dance space, my nerves seemed to dissipate as my excitement began to grow. I was placed in a group of four, and danced once in the front row, and once in the back row. I felt a moment of surrealism, for I could not believe that I finally made it to auditions.

Once everyone had danced their best, the directors led us to our vocal audition space. My nerves overcame me once again as we created a line in the hall in ascending order. Trembling, I proceeded into the vocal audition room, stated my name, and asked to have two bars before my starting point. The accompanist laughed, and said I owed him two dollars, one for each bar. It was such a great relief to laugh and leave my nerves behind me as I began to sing my audition piece.

After singing my audition piece, I was informed the callback list would be posted later that night. I knew that I would not be sleeping that night, and kept refreshing the AOTC website in anticipation. Once callbacks were posted, I took a deep breath in as I began to scroll through the numbers that were listed. At first glance, I forgot what number I was, because my nerves had overcome me. Once it registered with me, I yelled, “Oh My Gosh!” There it was, my number was on the callback list!

After a sleepless night that was full of excitement and emotion, I prepared for my callback. My entire nervous system was in shock, and I could not wait to enter the audition space once again. Upon arrival, I was informed of the order in which I would be singing and reading lines. I was still in disbelief, that I not only got a callback, but I was acting alongside people I previously saw perform in unforgettable productions.

Shortly after callbacks had come to an end, the cast list was posted. I took a deep breath in, and scrolled through the names that were listed next to each character. I exhaled as I read my name next to ensemble/townsperson/enchanted object. I could not have been more excited knowing I was joining the Acting Out Theater Company cast for Beauty and the Beast!

I encourage you to use your musical strengths, and audition for an Acting Out Theater Company production. It is such an incredible opportunity that allows you to showcase your dancing skills, vocal range, and acting abilities. Through Acting Out, I have found another place of home, and so much love through the many friendships I have formed.

Tale as Old as Time

The Importance of Experiencing Stories

By: AE Sarver

Last week, I took a trip to Ohio to visit my parents. It’s always nice to go home; a place of nostalgia, memories, and reminders of the stories I love. We got out the old home videos and took a trip back in time to when I was just a little girl.

And there I was: dreaming, dancing, and wanting to be a part of a beautiful story.

I was reminded that as a child, I knew no boundaries, I loved hearing fairy tales, and I loved picturing myself as that princess or as the hero of a dangerous adventure. I look at my life now and realize that many of those stories and dreams are still with me. The ability to dream as a child is extremely important. I believe experiencing stories is imperative.

In an article from Harvard Business Review, the authors discuss a business concept called “the experience economy.” If we look at the world through the lens of a businessperson or an economist, we see that throughout history businesses have gone from being producers of goods and services to producers of experiences. You can read the article to get a deeper understanding, but here’s a quick example they offer:

You could bake a cake for a birthday using a recipe and gather all of the ingredients then bake the cake, or you could “outsource” the entire birthday party and have someone else provide the decorations, the cake, games…an experience. The article continues to describe a market for experiences. “Today the concept of selling experience is spreading beyond theaters and theme parks.” As humans, we have the innate desire to live in community, to experience, to be a part of the story.

We are in a time where even businesses are recognizing the importance of experiences.

This summer, as Acting Out is preparing for another beautiful show, I’ve had the privilege to help plan and prepare for Belle’s Enchanted Tea Party. It’s going to be a magical day for both boys and girls as they play games, have snacks, and interact with some of the characters from this beloved story. It’s an experience they won’t forget.

Not only can your kids attend the tea party, but they also have a chance to be “The Prince or Princess for the Day.” There will be a raffle at the party for one child to get this title for one of the productions of Beauty and the Beast. They will get pampered, escorted to their reserved seats at the show by their very own Lady-in-Waiting (which is me, and I’m beyond excited!), and get announced as the Prince or Princess of the day at the show! Who wouldn’t want to be royalty for a day?

I believe in the power of story and I believe in the necessity of experiencing these stories, especially as children. These events will stay with them for a long time. And isn’t it wonderful to see a young mind at work, dreaming, smiling, joyous and excited for the potential in their future?

I hope you to see you at the Enchanted Tea Party. And I hope it will be an experience you will never forget.

AE Sarver is the Graduate Assistant for the Theatre Department at Olivet Nazarene University. Though she is not in the cast of Beauty and the Beast, she will be the Lady-in-Waiting for the Prince or Princess of the day each night. She’s had the privilege to be in Acting Out’s productions of Sweeney Todd as the Beggar Woman and It’s a Wonderful Life as Rose Bailey. She directed Olivet’s Spring Musical Guys & Dolls and will be directing their fall play Our Town.