In Memoriam: Maris Lynne Long, Hill Country Community Theatre, by Artistic Director Mike Rademaekers, March 18, 2021




With deep regret and profound sadness, I inform you that Maris Lynne Long passed away peacefully the evening of Monday, March 15, 20121, at 78, after a brief illness.  She will be missed.
Maris Lynne and her husband Jerry performed many times on the Hill Country Community Theatre stage.  She served on the HCCT board as well as serving as its president.  Maris Lynne and I enjoyed sharing many bad puns and arguing about punctuation.  She also shared many HCCT stories with me over the years.  I especially enjoyed the anecdotes from the nuns' backstage antics in "The Sound of Music."

This past summer, I collected funny stories and delightful recognitions from our HCCT family of things that happened on and off stage.  Below, I am sharing Maris Lynne's story about an experience she had during the production of "The 1940's Radio Hour|" with you again. 


– Maris Lynne Long 
I'm sure everyone who has spent anytime around a theater stage can relate entertaining stories about their experiences. Certainly, fluffed lines and missed cues can create funny and often embarrassing situations, but lots of things happen backstage that are memorable as well.
The HCCT winter production in 2006 was "The 1940's Radio Hour." Full of 1940s music, dancing and old-time sound effects, the play portrays the final holiday broadcast of a New York radio station in December 1942. There was a live orchestra onstage and a number of actors who came in and out of the studio, performed their acts, and so on. A long-time friend of mine—and a long-time friend of HCCT—Sally Stemac, was the stage manager for the production. As usual, Sally had things well under control, but at some point in the rehearsal process she gave me a call and asked if I could help out backstage. Sure!
The scene was New York in December and there was supposed to be a blizzard outside. As the actors would enter or exit through the back door of the radio studio, snow was supposed to be blowing into the studio to remind the audience of that fact. The set designer—the genius!—had rigged a large and heavy metal barrel to contain the "snow," the sort of stuff one throws decoratively around a Christmas tree. The barrel itself was probably a little over two feet long and maybe a foot and a half deep and was hung with a couple of heavy cords just outside the door to the radio studio. The barrel was full of holes so that when one pulled on the rope, the barrel rotated and the snow would come swirling down on cue.
My one and only job was to man the snow machine. We tried it out a couple times in rehearsal and everything was fine. On opening night, I was in position, backstage right, ready to do my job. I heard my cue, the door opened, I pulled the cord, and the entire contraption started to come loose from where it was attached to the back of the set. What to do?! I grabbed a stool, managed to climb halfway onto the stool and get ahold of the end of the barrel. Sally was busy backstage on the other side and had no idea that I was precariously balanced on a stool and holding the barrel up with both hands to keep it from crashing onto the floor. I felt like the little boy who had to keep his finger in the dam. After what seemed an eternity, help was summoned, but despite several attempts to fix the problem, the snow machine continued to malfunction. For the rest of the night—and the rest of the production—every time it was supposed to snow, Sally and I would open the door and throw snow up in the air and onto the stage, sweep it up, and get ready for the next cue to open the door. Unforgettable!
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