As often as Pauls Valley has provided the chance for artistic expression over the years, there seems to be no lack of opportunities in which to show off talent at one event or another.
However, for those of the theatrical mindset things have been a bit too quiet in the past few years, a trend local resident Steve Freeman hopes to change as soon as this holiday season.
He is behind recent efforts to revive community theater for the seat of Garvin County and is looking for like-minded people to help from the planning process to finding a director for the production.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Freeman, who has only lived in town for a little over a year, but recently joined family, who has lived here longer.
“I just woke up one day and said why not.”
The story of the world he hopes to have brought to life has become synonymous with the spirit of Christmas, set in a community about the size of Pauls Valley, and would be a radio version of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” said Freeman.
He doesn’t attribute any one source for the coming up with the idea, but counts the movie as one of his favorites, watching it at least 14 times since he was a kid, and thought it would be an uncomplicated way to boost the arts scene.
“I think it says a lot about small town life,” said Freeman, noting how he does public relations, writing, managing an architecture magazine and teaching communication classes online for a living.
“One thing I love about Pauls Valley is it allows to you stretch... In a way I’m glad Pauls Valley is allowing me to live out things like this.”
Freeman has already started meeting with members of the PV Arts Council as well as forming a subcommittee and eventually hopes to put out casting calls for as many as 20 or so different spots for a show.
He pointed out how one does not have to be all that an experienced an actor, with another call for those who might want to be in a show to contact him as well, to participate and would only need to be able to read a script to be considered for a part.
If everything holds together auditions would likely be held no earlier than September and any rehearsals beginning sometime after that, said Freeman. People of all ages will be needed whether it is to portray kids like Zuzu Bailey or toward the older range for the coldhearted Mr. Potter.
“Anything you can imagine we need…ultimately this is going to make some money for the arts council to support what they keep doing,” said Freeman, adding how he’s also gotten involved in the community other ways like having his extensive Simpsons memorabilia collection on display at the Toy & Action Figure Museum.
“If people who love the movie would do it, we’d have everyone we need.”
Ultimately, Freeman also sees it as the perfect escape, borrowing from his own experiences in the past where he got away from depressing moods by seeing other people express themselves artistically.
He believes the story puts in perspective how important people are on a personal level and proves there are blessings everywhere no matter how disappointed one is with life.
“There’s a spiritual element to Wonderful life,” said Freeman. “It helps a person realize that every person is connected to everyone else.”
Those who are interested in planning or other parts of the project can contact Freeman at email@example.com or by calling 405-238-3142.