When Pam Taylor was a child, she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up — an actress.
“That what I’d say when anyone would ask me. Of course, my mom would say ‘Don’t tell them that,” she said with a laugh.
But, turns out, it wasn’t off the mark. Taylor has spent her adult life participating in various community theater projects. And when the former Philadelphia-area resident was looking to relocate, finding a thriving community theatre was at the top of her list.
“It’s always been part of my life and my one true love. I’m one of those people. When we were going to move, I knew I wanted to go somewhere that had a strong theatre,” she said.
That’s certainly what Taylor found on St. Simons Island. The Island Players has been staging productions there for more than 60 years. Once settled in her new home, she signed on immediately.
“We actually came down here when we were visiting friends and went to one of the Island Players productions. And then when I was making a checklist of things I wanted in a community ... it had to have access to community theatre,” she said.
“So this fit the bill. I’ve been so impressed with them. It’s been wonderful.”
Taylor has been onstage as well as behind the scenes. She worked as an assistant director with Jackie Santoro in “The Affections of May,” but she’s also be in the spotlight taking on the role of a real estate agent in “I Hate Hamlet.”
“Mostly recently, I played Jinx Jenkins in the ‘Savannah Sipping Society.’” Taylor said.
She’s certainly made the theatrical rounds. But now Taylor is taking on possibly her most challenging endeavor — directing. She will be running the show this go around when she takes the reigns of “One Slight Hitch.” The show opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday. It will be stage at the same time Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday. Performance will continue at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays — May 10, 11, 17 and 18. Matinees will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday May 12 and 19. All shows will be at the theater at the St. Simons Island Casino. Tickets may be purchased at www.theislandplayers.com.
The play, penned by comedian Lewis Black, offers a wide range of emotions for the ensemble cast and a new set of tall tasks for Taylor.
“When I’m acting, I really just have to worry about myself,” she said with a laugh. “It has been a lot of work. I know that whenever I work with a director I hope to learn something ... so I hope I’m teaching them something that they haven’t gotten from another director. I just want to help them get to the next level and help them to achieve what they want to achieve.”
This production certainly provides ample opportunity to branch out. Set in one day in 1981, it centers around a family wedding and all the trappings that go along with it.
“What could go wrong, right? It’s Lewis Black so it’s a bit sarcastic too,” she said. “It takes place in the home of the parents whose eldest daughter is getting married. There are two other daughters too. And there’s just a few snafus that happen at any wedding but they are blown way of proportion.”
The chaos unfolds between the parents, the bride — a writer, groom and the other daughters, a nurse and a 16-year-old.
“It is one of those that needs all of the cast to work. It’s like ‘Friends,’” she said.
Cast members include Bill Young as Doc, Sheri Munshi as Delia, parents of the bride; Lilly Seemann, plays the oldest daughter, Courtney; Missy Joiner, is the middle daughter, Melanie; PB, the youngest daughter, is portrayed by Shiloh Moore.
“Then we have her boyfriend, Ryan, who is played by John Peters and Jeremy Hollington who plays Harper, the fiancée,” Taylor said.
While the cast has varying levels of experience, they all mesh well together. Chemistry between actors is always critically important but it is even more so when attempting to pull off comedy.
“Some of them have a lot of background in theatre. Some are relatively young but as kids some of them did summer shows here. They all have great attitudes and are willing to try anything. They will rework it until we get it right. It’s going to be good and very funny,” she said.”
“Timing is everything. You can’t tell the punchline too soon or it’s lost. And some of these are sight gags, some are verbal ... it’s a combination of a lot of things.”
Taylor feels sure the strong script plus the talents of the cast will prove a powerful combination. And like all good theatre, the show will offer a chance for attendees to be transported to a different time and place.
“Things were very different in 1981 ... some people don’t even remember it. Ronald Reagan was president, Sandra Day O’Connor was just appointed to the Supreme Court, Prince Charles married Diana,” she said. “It’s a really fun show and I think that any time you go to the theater or a movie, you should kind of forget about the rest of the world. That’s what I always look for and I hopefully we will give people that.”