110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Oct 17, 2013 - 3:01:57pm
A new play by Volusia Lowdown producer and director Billy de Silva will celebrate Lake Helen history, as the small city celebrates its 125th jubilee anniversary.
De Silva, a member of the West Volusia Historical Society, said the play, Lake Helen … The Gem of Florida will follow the same format as Volusia Lowdown and DeLand … the Athens of Florida, both of which were hits with audiences this year and last year.
Lake Helen … the Gem of Florida will hit the boards for two nights only, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Shoestring Theatre of Lake Helen, at 380 S. Godwin Street. Tickets cost $15 and are available at Lake Helen City Hall and the West Volusia Historical Society. Tickets will also be sold at the theater box office before the shows, but get there early — it's open seating, with no reserved seats.
As in the two earlier plays, a narrator will introduce the people who founded Lake Helen and made its history, and tie their stories together. The narrator is Helen Parce DeLand, founder Henry DeLand's daughter. Alix Miller plays Helen.
Settlers who will appear in the play, and the actors who portray them, are:
• Judge John Prevatt — Robert Sollien
• Betsy Hopkins — Cathy Tallacksen
• Nelson Blake — Will Pierce
• John Mace — Robert Floyd
• Eber Bond — William "Bill" Crippen (also known as an Orange City commission member)
• Minerva Long — Janice Driggers
De Silva adapted various accounts to create the characters and the stories they tell. However, de Silva added, "We have excellent actors," who can add their own touches and don't have to stick strictly to a script or de Silva's thoughts on their characters. The actors can contribute their own ideas.
"That gives you a more natural feel to the show," de Silva said.
Another important talent contribution will come from photographer Bruce Fogleman, who will, as he did for earlier shows, create backdrops from historical photos of Lake Helen and its people. Fogleman will also videotape one of the performances. Copies will be available later, and orders can be placed as early as the Saturday, Oct. 26 performance.
Lake Helen's history is fascinating, de Silva said.
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