By Lon McNeil
For Doug Lorber and Glenn White, Theatre Albany’s current production of “Scapino” must surely have an element of deja vu mixed in with their performances. Twelve years ago, both were hitting their marks in the same play, as the same characters; Scapino, played by Lorber, and Geronte, played by White.
The plot has the two at odds with each other in a fast-paced comedy that is expected to be as much fun today as it was the first time around. In real life, the two have become good friends through their mutual love of the theatre. They are among a devoted group of actors that Theatre Albany has come to rely on over the years for professional level performances, giving the commitment of time and effort that it takes.
For Lorber, acting has been in his blood his whole life, taking the stage in high school and then getting accepted to Boston’s Emerson College for theatre. At the time he was living in Virginia and economics, logistics, and some fatherly guidance found him instead at Mary Washington College, in Fredericksburg. Having just been converted from an all girl school to a coed college, Lorber said that auditioning for roles almost always had him on the stage, as there were only a few hundred male students on campus. He joked, “Usually I got the old men parts because I could grow a beard in a few weeks.”
His first performance for Theatre Albany was shortly after moving here in 1983, in “The Rainmaker”. It was the beginning of a long run of shows, and his long-running marriage to his wife, Nancy, as well.
“We had just been married, and because I was in the show we didn’t get a honeymoon until five years later,” Doug Lorber said.
The couple, business partners with Albany Audiology, are strong supporters of the area’s community theatre. “My wife has been incredibly supportive of my acting over the years”, added Lorber. “Acting gives me a chance to be somebody else, to do dialects, and just crazy stuff for a few hours.”
Glenn White has been a service technician for Johnson Controls in Albany for 16 years. He has been acting for about 21 years.
“I just love it. It feeds my ego,” he said.
White is a thespian that Theatre Albany can rely on year after year. He has performed in more than 20 shows, and has no plans to stop.
White said he enjoys sharing the stage with others like himself; people with a genuine passion for the craft, and an appreciation for the hard work that goes into every performance. “It’s a good group of people, getting together to do something very special. We have a lot of fun,” said White. He is certain that his second time around with Lorber as comedic adversaries will be fun to do, which will only make it that much more entertaining for the audience to watch.
This performance of “Scapino” will have some style and pacing differences from the first because of the venue. Twelve years ago it was presented in the more informal studio upstairs. This season it’s on the main stage, and although it is still a very energetic offering, will probably not be quite as physical.
“I was actually in the audience back then more than I am now,” said Lorber.
Beyond their own personal calling to act, the bonds they have developed over the years with other performers make it an enjoyable process. They are each also quick to point out that the reactions from those that come to see a show, make it all worthwhile.
Said Lorber, “The applause you get at the end for a job well done is a great feeling.”
You can catch these two reprising their “Scapino” roles beginning March 17th. The play runs for two weeks, with evening performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
For more information and reservations, call the Theatre Albany box office at 439-7141.