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An Actor Speaks: Malaga Adventure

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy is the next show at Emerson Stage, with public performances in the Semel Theater Nov 1-3 (two school matinees, playing Oct 31 and Nov 1, are already sold out).

The show’s historical context comes from the true events that happened on Malaga Island, Maine in 1912 — which is why, in the first week of rehearsal, director Robert Colby took 18 designers and actors on a field trip to Malaga Island.

Reyn Beeler is a junior BFA acting student who plays Deacon Hurd in our show. Here, he shares a few thoughts about his experience of Malaga Island. 

Going to Malaga was a truly transformational experience. It solidified the ensemble nature of the cast and production team — but more importantly, it provided a lot of insight as to why we needed to produce this play.

The story of the people of Malaga and their struggle is a little known moment in history, even within the state of Maine itself. To actually see the island and walk on its shores and to see how the families could have possibly lived was inspiring.

When we were kayaking to the island there was a point during the journey where we could all see the juxtaposition of Phippsburg with the small island of Malaga. That moment, in my opinion, was the most informative moment for me as an actor developing my character of Deacon Hurd — the relationship between the two main locations of the play was awesome. Phippsburg had this gigantic American flag flying, and bunch of clean houses all neatly assembled near the shoreline in the middle of this beautifully maintained grass. In contrast, Malaga was a wondrous mass of fern, moss, uprooted and fallen trees, shells, and swamp.

Physically seeing the different atmospheres of each location helped me understand the possible perceptions the Deacon would have had of the two communities in his time period. I can only hope to translate even a fraction of the spirit that exists on Malaga to the stage when presenting its story.

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