CRESTVIEW — When Abbie and Martha Brewster toddled into their living room on a recent afternoon, they had to abruptly stop in their tracks. The actresses playing the spinster sisters had forgotten there had been a set reconfiguration.


CRESTVIEW — When Abbie and Martha Brewster toddled into their living room on a recent afternoon, they had to abruptly stop in their tracks. The actresses playing the spinster sisters had forgotten there had been a set reconfiguration.



“We just have to adjust to a door move,” Sandra Peters, who plays Abbie, said. “We had to move it from there (pointing stage right) to there (stage left).”



She and Ashleigh Gonyea ran back to their marks as actors Sean Peters, Sandra’s husband, and Jack Barr, a Crestview High School senior, delivered the women’s cue again.



Such are the challenges of bringing a play off the script’s pages and onto the stage, and Crestview’s fledgling community theatre members take in stride whatever hiccups occur before the opening night curtain.



“Arsenic and Old Lace,” the classic American dark comedy of gangsters, spinster murderesses and a loony brother who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, runs 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16-17 and 3 p.m. Nov. 16 at Warriors Hall, 201 Stillwell Ave. Tickets – which cost $10 for adults, $5 for kids under 12 -- are available at Journey Java Connection in Crestview, at the door before performances or by calling 398-8814.



The Peterses are the driving force behind the troupe’s formation. When the couple arrived in Crestview following Sean Peters’ assignment to start Journey Methodist Church, they were surprised to discover their new home lacked community theatre, Sandra, “Arsenic’s” assistant director, said.



After helping in the spring Crestview High School drama production of “The Sound of Music,” the couple marshaled supporters and launched the community-wide troupe.



“We’re not even legit yet,” Sandra Peters said, laughing. “We haven’t even thought of a name.”



A week before the curtain rises Nov. 16, the cast is off-book, she said. While actors rehearse in the back meeting room at the couple’s coffee shop, crewmembers have built sets for today’s move-in at Warriors Hall.



“The pieces we build are pieces we can reuse in future productions, so it’ll be a good investment,” Sandra Peters said.



Local reaction to the community theatre troupe’s formation has been positive, she said.



“I just had a couple come in here and buy tickets,” Sandra Peters said. “They asked where the proceeds are going and we said they’re going to start a Crestview community theatre and they said, ‘Oh gosh, we’ve needed that.’ We’ve heard that from everybody. We’ve also heard from people who are interested in being actors or helping on the crew, so that’s been good, too.”



If producing a show isn’t complicated enough, doing so while launching a theatrical production company is an even greater challenge, Peters said.



“We are jumping over hurdles. It’s sometimes a little frustrating but we’ll get through it,” she said. “We’d just love to have a space that would be more suitable, but we’re making do with what we have. But we would eventually love to have a space that better suits us.”



The Peterses have visited the historic Fox Theatre downtown and covet its large stage, spacious wings, dressing rooms and fly space. However, the building is still undergoing renovation by owner Mickey Rytman, and may not be completed for a couple of years, Sandra Peters said.



Meanwhile, she said in true theatre spirit, “the show will go on” wherever the new company can find performance space — with sponsors’ backing.



“The main thing is to get this show done and out there and show the public what we can do and then get some support,” Sandra Peters said.



Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.