'Christmas Belles' actors enjoy family atmosphere

By Alice Adams
Nov. 6, 2010 at 6:06 a.m.

In Theatre Victoria's upcoming comedy, "Christmas Belles," the characters of the fictional Fayro, Texas community might seem familiar to theatergoers, not to mention the family dynamics and dysfunctions of the community.

But, in spite of the comical antics of those playing roles in this not-to-be-missed production, the cast and crew have formed a true family.

Ruth Stock, a veteran of Theatre Victoria's stage, is the perfect matriarch of this theatrical family.

"I play Geneva Musgrave, a woman who operates a combination floral shop and bus station in Fayro," she said. "You know, those strange combinations of businesses happen a lot in little towns."

A speech pathologist by profession, this vivacious lady began her love affair with the theater while a student at Floydada High School, a little town she said could be the fictional Fayro without much effort.

Stock describes theater much like eating. "I have such an appetite for wanting to act, I keep thinking I'm getting older and older. Then I saw Betty White in 'The Proposal' - and I really admired her performance. So, if she can do it, I can keep on doing it. Truthfully, I'd rather you take my dinner away than take my acting."

So, what does she get from her participation in theater?

"I simply love that family," she said. "Every time I've been in a play, that's my family. We may not even see each other again unless we're in another play. We may go our separate ways, but like right now, I still get on the Internet and still talk with those people, whether I've seen them in a while or not. I can't tell you how many friends I have in theater. You just get close," she added.

Caitlyn Klare, who plays the teenaged GJ in the show and who, at 22, is the youngest cast member agreed.

"It's been a blast. It's so much fun. For our rehearsal yesterday - we used a small room because the stage was being used. But in that small room, everyone was involved and people laughed. The stage was a foot or two from the audience and it was the best by far of what we've done. But it's much like family."

Klare, who recently moved back to Victoria after earning a degree in architecture from Texas A&M University, said she was involved in plays as a child, but hasn't been on stage since age 8.

"I did theater as a kid because my older brother was interested and my mom took me along," she explained. "I was a natural because I was little, loud and able to remember my lines, not to mention being very outspoken."

Her involvement in "Christmas Belles" came as a surprise," she admitted. "I was wondering if there were any auditions anywhere and looked on the computer," she said. "That was Sunday and auditions were scheduled for the next day, so I thought I'd go for it."

The 2006 Memorial High School graduate is balancing work, rehearsals and making plans for her wedding next year.

Speaking for her entire theatre family, Caitlyn Klare encourages everyone to come and enjoy "Christmas Belles."

"We couldn't have a better cast ... from all age groups and all walks of life. We have people who have done many plays and people who have done none - like me, and this play is so funny and our director is great, it'll be definitely worth seeing."

Alice Adams is president of Alice Adams Communications in Houston and Austin. She serves as a consultant, co-author, author and editor for numerous projects. She lives in Austin. Contact her at Rtadams2@aol.com.



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