‘Ropes’ by Footlights at the Falls

  • Marc Kaufmann of Buckland, William Spademan of Ashfield and Chip Roughton of Florence are three brothers going to see their dad's last tightrope walk in "Ropes" at Shelburne Falls Memorial Hall from Sept. 13 through 21. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 9/5/2019 11:00:15 AM

Jackie Walsh of Shelburne is almost a one-woman show — the director, producer, costume artist and promoter of Footlights at the Falls, a local theater company that she started four years ago.

Since then, Walsh has helped to put on as many shows in as many years, always featuring local actors and set designers. This year’s Footlights at the Falls production, “Ropes,” written by Mexican playwright Barbara Colio, is set to open Sept. 13 with subsequent performances Sept. 14, 15, 20 and 21 at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls. In the past, Walsh has stage-managed for Valley Light Opera and Eggtooth Productions and directed children's theater and play readings. “Ropes” will be her first time directing a full-fledged play intended for adults.

“Luckily, it only has three characters and a minimal set. Costumes are contemporary, so I have been able to focus on the material itself,” Walsh said. “It's been a joy to discuss nearly every line of the play.”

Colio’s play, originally penned in Spanish and then translated later, follows three brothers who are making their way through airports in order to see their father’s last tightrope walk. The brothers, Presley, Paul and Prince (named after the musicians) haven’t seen their father since they were children. He left to become a world-famous tightrope walker when they were young. Marc Kaufmann of Buckland plays Presley. William Spademan of Ashfield plays Paul (notably , he started Ashfield Community Theater). Chip Roughton of Florence is Prince (he is also the production’s sound designer).

The play touches on themes of shared history and familial relationships, among other things, according to Walsh. Rehearsals for the production began in May.

“I saw it three years ago in Red Bank, New Jersey and sobbed and belly-laughed my way through it. Since then, I’ve been determined to get it here,” Walsh said. “It's sweet, it's funny, it's a little profound. … Brothers are brothers whether they live in the U.S., Mexico, Korea or Mongolia.”

All shows start at 7 p.m., except for the show on Sept. 15, which begins at 2 p.m. Tickets to the upcoming performances are $12 for all of the shows except for Sunday’s matinee, which is $6. 

Tickets can be reserved by emailing ropesatthefalls@gmail.com and paid at the door with cash or a check, although Walsh noted that reservations are not needed because Shelburne Falls Memorial Hall is large.

Andy Castillo is features editor at the Recorder. He can be reached at acastillo@recorder.com.

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