Wedding Belles are rung for alumni
By Debbie Clark
“Wedding Belles” rang — in a non-traditional way — last summer when an Alfred University alumna and her former theater professor, also an alumna, worked on stage together for the first time. It proved to be a real “honeymoon” of an experience for both of them.
Dr. Becky Prophet ’70, professor of theater at AU, spent the first part of her summer break '09 performing in the production of “Wedding Belles” at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theater (BRDT) at Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA. Also in the cast was Emily Rose Tucker ’03, who serves as a recruiter for BRDT, a role she has had since spring 2001. BRDT is a family-oriented, traditional-style repertory theater.
“I had a blast,” says Prophet. “I had hoped this would happen,” adding that she and Emily worked together as two actors, not as teacher and student or director and actor. “I’ve made a reconnection with Emily as two, hard-working people who love what we do,” says Prophet. “There is nothing more exciting. It’s so invigorating.”
“It was an incredible honor to work with Becky,” said Emily. “I have tremendous respect for her as an artist, and I was thrilled that she was able to join us for the show.
“I wish you could have seen her work. Her character, Violet, was touching and humorous and just right. It was such a pleasure to be on stage together!”
“Wedding Belles,” a play by Alan Bailey (author of “Smoke on the Mountain”) and Ronnie C. Edward (from The Waltons) is about four ladies who meet a young girl who plans to marry a soldier who has enlisted in World War II. The women impulsively decide to throw the girl an elaborate wedding, and their lives and friendships are thrown into comic mayhem as they race to accomplish the nuptials in one frenzied afternoon.
The five-member cast represented a “bouquet of characters,” says Prophet, who played the spinster in the group, Violet. Tucker was the group’s catalyst in its efforts to put aside differences in order to put on a wedding.
Prophet received a phone call from Tucker who asked if she might be interested in a summer role. After reading the play and thinking about the opportunity, Rex Stevenson, founder of the BRDT in 1979, gave Prophet an audition via the phone.
Spring rehearsals, a concentrated three days of intense practice where each of the actors got to know their lines, their character, and each other was “one of the most amazing” times of my career, says Prophet. “It was better than a retreat.”
There is a “boost” which comes from being on stage, explains Prophet, noting that because her first passion is directing she has had to give up most onstage opportunities.
Tucker, who was a theater major and dance minor, was the Alfred University Outstanding Woman in the class of 2003. She also successfully completed the Honors Program. She is a daughter of Terry and Karen Tucker of Lansing and a graduate of Lansing High School.
Prophet earned both a master’s degree and a doctorate at the University of Michigan. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from AU.
A passionate teacher, Prophet finds the relationships among acting, directing, theater history, and all areas of human study constantly enticing and deeply engaging. She honors and works in all styles of theater, but gives preference to theater that presses for social and political changes. She is highly active in the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival and Association for Theatre in Higher Education.