Working vacation for Tupelo director

TUPELO – Tupelo Community Theatre’s executive director put his crisis management skills to use in California.
Tom Booth with TCT was hired to direct a play in Lake Tahoe. The plan was to produce “Life Times Three.”
“I went to Tahoe about two months ago to cast it,” Booth said.
Soon after, one of the actors had to drop out.
“We didn’t feel like we could come up with the right actor to continue the show,” Booth said. “We moved on to ‘The Dining Room’ and cast that.”
He spent three weeks in rehearsal for Tahoe Tallac Association’s production of “The Dining Room.” Booth got help from Tupelo’s own Allana Austin.
“He told me about it in March. I was going to be his assistant director,” Austin said. “I ended up playing five different roles.”
Booth and Austin’s trip to California had its roots at TCT. Ginger Davis appeared in TCT’s “Shadowlands” in the 1990s. She eventually moved to Lake Tahoe, and Booth has made regular visits out west.
“Ginger suggested that I direct,” Booth said. “We started working on it about eight or 10 months ago.”
With a leave of absence from TCT, Booth spent about a month in Lake Tahoe for casting and rehearsal.

Adapting
The experience gave him a new appreciation for Austin – “Couldn’t have done it without it her,” he said – and a new appreciation for the Lyric Theatre.
Booth didn’t have access to the Lyric’s stash of props and costumes, or its ready supply of tools.
“It was hard to find the right dining room table for a show called ‘The Dining Room,’” he said, “but it all worked out.”
Despite the challenges or because of them, Booth said he had a good time. The show drew nice crowds, which was reflected in the box office receipts, and Booth was invited back.
In addition, there may be an informal cultural exchange on the horizon.
“One of the actresses asked if she could come to Mississippi,” Booth said. “Maybe you’ll see her at the Lyric someday.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. Scott Morris