Sometimes all it takes to try something new is the encouragement of a friend – just ask two new cast members in Angels Theatre Company’s First Flight Festival. Dallas McGee, recently retired from the Department of Urban Development, always had an interest in acting. “I got involved with ATC after Diane Gonzales, a friend and co-worker, suggested I audition for First Flight Festival.” Dallas, who has not acted since high school, was initially cast as an understudy but the actor he was understudying with was unable to continue and Dallas found himself in the lead. He plays Ebeneezer Scrooge in Merry Commitment and A Happy Neurosis by Linda Howard Cooke in Flight B of the festival. The play is an intriguing look at Scrooge after his transformation. Asked about the challenges and joys of taking on this role, Dallas said “My biggest challenge and what I have enjoyed the most are related. I would say my biggest challenge is getting into the frame of mind and fully becoming my character while I am on stage. And while that is my biggest challenge, actually becoming that character is something I have enjoyed the most as we prepare for our performances.”
Judy Bailey worked for the Gallup Organization for over forty years before retiring. Asked how she got involved with ATC, Judy replied “My friend Mark Mesarch has been involved with First Flight Festival for many years. Each year he would call and say ‘Judy, I think there’s a great part for you, you should audition.’ Every year I would say no. This year I don’t know what inspired me, maybe turning 75 and thinking I needed a new adventure, but I said yes. Happy that he didn’t check me off his list!” Judy plays Mora in Green Room by Elbert Traylor in Flight A of the festival. Green Room is a hilarious short play about the final auditions for a new film and Mora is “rarin’ to go!” Judy thought her biggest challenge would be memorizing lines but that has gone well. “My lines are short and funny, and that fits me.” For both Dallas and Judy, the encouragement and support of friends and family has been important. “First Flight Festival has always been a welcoming space for those wanting to get a start in, or come back to, working in theatre whether that is in playwriting, directing or acting,” said producer Kathy Disney. “Dallas and Judy are fantastic additions to this year’s cast and it has been a joy to watch them grow as artists.”
Angels Theatre Company’s First Flight Festival features short plays or monologues written by members of the Angels Playwriting Collective and is held in the Studio Theatre at UNL’s Temple Building. Remaining performances of Flight A are July 15 at 7:30 PM and July 16 at 2:00 PM. Flight B performances are July 20-22 at 7:30 PM and July 23 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are available through the ATC website (www.angelscompany.org) or at the door.