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INTERVIEW: Bonnie Grice On Bringing "The Red Badge Of Courage" To The East End

T.J. Clemente

Bonnie Grice and her Boots on the Ground Theater are looking to make a lasting imprint on East End theater. They are doing this by producing The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane at the Southampton Cultural Center from Friday, October 19, until Sunday, November 4.

I was fortunate that Grice, an East End radio and acting legend, took the time to answer a few questions about this ambitious undertaking:

Why did you pick this particular play?

BG: The chance to bring Stephen Crane's story to life on the stage in a NY premiere was something I couldn't pass up. Catherine Bush's adaptation is brilliant. She captures the essence in a little over an hour - distilled the conflict and the humanity in such a beautiful way. I also loved the chance to pay tribute to Crane and his vision. The Red Badge was published in October 1895 and has never gone out of print since. Folks have read it for generations, now they get to see it.

Why, in your opinion, should someone go to see this production of The Red Badge of Courage?

BG: They'll be inspired by the story and the actors. And we're excited too about the set and effects. Josephine Wallace, our Director, has come up with a truly original vision for Henry and his regiment. Plus as costume designer I've worked hard at making sure everyone is geared up in the proper historically accurate ways. From kepi to wool socks these guys will look and act the part. Also, we'll have a Civil War Exhibit in the SCC Gallery with memorabilia from the 1860s - some of which ties in to a local hero Alonzo Foster from Hampton Bays who enlisted in the Union Army on my birthday Oct 15 1861! Synchronicity....

What is your vision about the future influence of Boots on the Ground Theater?

BG: Oh my... I'm not even thinking that far. Right now just focusing a day at a time... and the looming opening night October 19!!! Hope folks will come.

How do you describe the anticipation, the excitement, the thrill and perhaps the fear of opening night?

BG: Thrill: 10. Fear: 8.

Tickets to The Red Badge of Courage are $20 for general admission and $12 for students. Performances will take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Southampton Cultural Center is located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. For more information, call 631-287-4377 or visit www.scc-arts.org. For more information about Boots on the Ground Theater, visit bootsonthegroundtheater.com.

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