‘Dads’ a virtual alternative to CPAC’s Backstage Series: Feb. 5-6

COOKEVILLE – Two dads and two daughters in two extremely different scenarios come together for one show in Cookeville Performing Arts Center’s latest Backstage Series production, “Dads.”

“Dads” consists of two one-act plays – “Imaginary Conversations with My Daughter” by Darren V. Michael and “The Hug” by Marshall Foltz – which may be viewed online only Feb. 5 and 6. It’s a virtual alternative to the usual Backstage format.

“Backstage productions are designed for our audience to sit onstage, literally within a few feet, sometimes inches, from the actors,” Kim Frick-Welker, director, said. “However, COVID safety guidelines do not allow for an intimate theatre experience at this time, nor do they allow us to bring in a large number of patrons for a mainstage production.”

Frick-Welker said the two short plays that make up “Dads” are ideal for the situation.

“I read ‘Imaginary Conversations with My Daughter’ a few years ago and knew it would be a fun short play to pair with a companion piece when the timing was right. Then recently I read ‘The Hug,’ a short play that addresses what so many of us experience with the constraints of social distancing and believed the two plays would work well together.”

“Imaginary Conversations with My Daughter” is the story of an expectant father who discusses every conversation he has feared with his new daughter as she ages rapidly before his eyes. Prudence van Aalten portrays the daughter while Michael Evanichko steps into the father’s role. Both have starred in previous Backstage productions, but this is their first collaboration.

“This play required a versatile actress who could portray a daughter from age 5 up to age 25, as imagined by her father, all without the benefit of changing costume or make-up,” Frick-Welker said. “Prudence has the added benefit of her two young daughters to draw upon for inspiration. Michael, who is not a dad in real life, slipped into an anxious father’s shoes with dad-worthy heart, dedication and humor.”

For “The Hug,” which explores the challenges of a parent and child trying to connect in the age of social distancing, Frick-Welker recruited real-life father and daughter Pat Frank and Laura Frank.

“Laura worked behind the scenes on several Backstage shows, but this was a perfect opportunity to bring her onstage with her dad, who has starred in several CPAC productions,” she said.

Frick-Welker noted that “The Hug” was not written specifically for a father-daughter character combo; the playwright leaves the genders of the parent and child open to director selection. 

“I paired the two plays to showcase a father experiencing bittersweet emotion as a result of beautifully raising his daughter juxtaposed with an expectant first-time father experiencing great anxiety as to whether he is up to the challenge of parenting a little girl,” she said of the two contrasting plays.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased HERE or by calling 528-1313. Patrons will receive an access code to view “Dads” on CPAC’s Vimeo account Feb. 5 and 6.

“CPAC genuinely appreciates the ongoing support received from our community,” Frick-Welker added. “This has been a tough year for all theatres, art venues and artists. We will get through this and see you at the theatre again soon. Until then, we hope you enjoy our shows online in the safety and comfort of your home.”

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