Recently (June 16, 2011), we had our first opportunity to rehearse in the Miller Barn at the Fanshawe Pioneer Village. It’s a versatile space, with great acoustics. It also has a double-stairway and an upstairs, two features that we immediately capitalized on. Another notable feature is the large mill-wheel sitting right outside, setting the stage beautifully for a play about the contest between two millers. It would be hard to ask for a better venue in which to perform The Miller and His Men.
The Miller Barn is itself almost a character in the show. It represents the former frame barn in which the play was staged by the Officers of the London Garrison in 1842—The Theatre Royal. Through Michael Gelman’s perceptive lens, we see moments of hilarity, reflection, and despair as our cast negotiate the emotional extremes of the melodramatic tradition: