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Talking "Pippin" And Sailing With North Fork Community Theatre’s Mary Motto Kalich

T.J. Clemente

"The talent is off the charts," she told us about "Pippin." (Courtesy Photo)

Mary Motto Kalich is an avid sailor, as well as one of the driving forces at the North Fork Community Theatre (NFCT). She recently reached out to remind me that NFCT's Youth On Stage show, Pippin, opens on Thursday, July 18 in Mattituck.

She also enjoys racing and is involved with the Mattituck Yacht Club Youth program, which has been going on since 1910, and is the Commodore of the Mattituck Yacht Club. She was actually in the North Fork Community Theater's youth program in the 80's.

Being a sailor, but not a racer I had to ask her some basic questions.

First, I asked Motto Kalich, what is the biggest mistake the average sailboat racers make? Her reply was short but concise, she said, "Not being on the line at the start."

What I believe she meant is in the beginning of every race all the boats must position themselves to be behind the starting line until the starting gun sounds. Many times inexperienced captains lag too far behind.

Then I asked her the question always mentioned during many America's Cup races - that being: How important is boat design versus skilled seamanship? She insisted, "Skills but only by a little since there is a handicapping system in sailboat racing (e.g. Perf rating) that evens out the differences in boat design if you are racing different designs of boats."

I love hearing about folks who know how to sail a sailboat so I told Motto Kalich about the most gifted Captain I ever sailed with, one Hank Abbott who after he passed away years ago, they dedicated a Block Island Sail Race in his name. Hank could see patterns and find lines with a skill and feel I will never have. I envied him as I observed his skills at reading winds and instantly plotting courses mid race. He was a gifted sailor, once again, "salute" to former NYAC Yacht Club Commodore Hank Abbott.

"I love solo, one design racing. Sunfish!" Motto Kalich told us. (Courtesy Photo)


There are so many class types and sizes to sailboats. Since I know very little about racing, I had to ask Motto Kalich what is, in her opinion, the best size boat to enjoy racing a sailboat? Her answer was not that surprising, because I have heard it so many times before as she said, "I love solo, one design racing. Sunfish!"

I have always wondered what are the most favorable winds to sail a race in is. For me to cruise around Gardiner's Bay in my 50-year-old 22' Catalina I prefer mild 6-8 MPH winds. However, Motto Kalich believes the best wind speed to race in is, "12 knots."

Finally, I asked Motto Kalich what is her favorite sailboat racing story? Without going into any detail her reply was, "When the mast fell down in the middle of the race!"

Then Motto Kalich brought the conversation back to Pippin at the North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck. The Youth On Stage show Pippin opens on Thursday, July 18 and she says it's going to be a winner.

She relayed, "I am just a parent and volunteer for Pippin. I am currently the Treasurer of the Board of Directors. Chelsea Chizever is the Director of Pippin. The talent is off the charts." She explained the show has collected, "The most talented kids from within a 50 minute radius (of Mattituck), ages 14-22," and that "51 kids tried out and we could only take 30."

Pippin will star David Lopez (Pippin), Alexandra Meli (Leading Player), Michael Krulder (Charlemagne), Kierra Prentiss (Berthe), Allie O'Connor (Fastrada), Kat Motlenski (Catherine), Justin Stuart (Lewis), and Grace Lovell (Theo), with Featured Dancers: David Bassemir, Micky Kalich, Becca Lukachinski, Grace Lukachinski, Arianna McMorris, Jesse Meehan, Maeve Meyers, Jocelyn Podlas, Joey Podlas, Jason Rios, Sarah Scarbrough, and John Yaiullo, and Ensemble: Lila Bowe, Ryan Buchholz, Savannah Corwin-Hall, Aydin Fidelli, Sarah Jordan, Kathleen Kelly, Gabriela Kuklinski, Connor Liddell, Olivia Mannino, Jonathan Montgomery, Isaiah Mraz, Jill Tuthill, and Ryan Wilcox. The show can be seen Thursdays to Sundays, through Sunday, August 4.

The North Fork Community Theatre is located at 12700 Sound Avenue in Mattituck. For more information, visit www.nfct.com.




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