A few dozen lucky Maderans were reminded Friday night of the joys of live theater. In this case, the performance was at the Madera County Library in the form of a dinner theater in which the actors mingled with the audience around dinner tables set up in the recently redecorated Galloway Room.
At first the audience members were scratching their heads, wondering what they had gotten themselves into. The plot, a play by Madera County author and playwright Carol Wolf, was centered around a book-signing by a famous female author, played by Vanessa Johnson. Rick Dorris directed and also played the author’s husband. Both Johnson and Dorris did great jobs of showing how little they appreciated Madera. Naturally, all the Maderans thought this to be very funny.
The person in charge of the book-signing and dinner was Heather Botwright, who played the president of the Friends of the Madera County Library — a position she actually holds. She also is a thespian and comedian who performs in area plays and appears at comedy clubs. She was very funny.
Sitting quietly at the end of one of the dinner tables was Madera County Sheriff John Anderson, who wound up solving the murder of the author by one of the members of the dinner party.
You don’t need to know any more of the plot, because the play might be performed again, and you don’t want to be tipped off about who done it.
The performance was in two venues — the Galloway Room, where everyone ate, and in the library itself, where the audience got a chance to see what a great treasure the county has there.
Live theater fans in Madera aren’t without options. We have the Golden Chain Theatre in Oakhurst, and Roger Rocka’s in Fresno comes to mind. And we have performances each year from the high-school theater classes. But the best option would be a working, local little-theater group which could make live theater a regular part of Madera’s cultural life.
We thank the Friends of the Madera County Library and head librarian Ellen Mester for reminding us of this.