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Copyright 2009-2010 by
Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Surfside Playhouse in Cocoa Beach is a community theatre that has proudly proclaimed its presence for 47 seasons. Dedicated to the performing arts, the Surfside Players have produced musicals, dramatic plays and comedies with an active outreach program and a dynamic educational program for the youthful community.

Director Bryan Bergeron works with students in grades 3 through 8 twice a week during Spring, and Fall sessions teaching them the general fundamentals of theatre. During the summer, students attend two 2-week long workshop “camps” meeting Monday through Friday both weeks.

“The Youth Players program must compete with sports, dance, band, or other after school activities,” said Bergeron.

Still, every season, he has 20-40 young students who have a great time learning to develop characters, singing and dancing, and the basics of voice and diction. After teaching his students about costuming, makeup, stage craft, and play production, Bergeron directs a musical or play custom written for the students.

With his father in the United Nations, Bergeron lived in Thailand as a child, and moved to Brevard County in 1972, when he was 17 years old. A year later, he started his directing debut. He worked 11 years as the Artistic Director of the Surfside Players, “But, six to seven years ago, I stopped doing it all, and started freelancing,” he said.

“It is more challenging to be a freelancer,” Bergeron said. “I travel from place to place and do many things to keep body and soul together.”

Among the things he does to keep body and soul together are workshops, event planning, working with productions at the King Center, and his theatric educational business, Looking Glass Entertainment. He is a member of the Cocoa Chamber of Commerce, and sits on the Board of Directors at Earth Awareness. The organization is a non-profit corporation “created to make a difference in the creative lives of our children by supporting and encouraging the pursuit of art and music.” E.A.R.T.H stands for Entertainers Against Ruining Their Home, and sponsors many activities, including the very popular E.A.R.T.H. Awareness festivals held locally.

Bergeron takes his role as a director and as a Brevard citizen very seriously. As other members of Earth Awareness, he is “dedicated to the preservation of creative outlets and natural experiences for the youth of Florida.” With more than 120 musicals and plays to his credit as a freelance director, Bergeron has now returned to the Surfside Playhouse as a guest director.

Beginning on January 13th, and running for three weeks, Bergeron will be working with four very experienced actors, and as many as twenty people in the background to bring Neil Simon’s comedy, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers to life for viewers.

The Last of the Red Hot Lovers is a hilarious four-act play about a very serious subject. Bergeron explained, “It’s about a middle aged man whose eyes wander. He sets up three rendezvous which provides a comedic bubble. They must meet in his mother’s house while she volunteers at a local hospital, so the liaison must only occur between the hours of three and five on a Thursday.”

Bergeron further explained how each woman helped the man learn something valuable during their brief liaisons. Despite the fact that more people traditionally have attended musicals than what is called a “straight play”, Surfside Playhouse expects The Last of the Red Hot Lovers will quickly sell out.

In addition to The Last of the Red Hot Lovers , the Surfside Players are in the process of preparing for their February musical called Tick, Tick, Boom! which was created by Jonathan Larsen and has been seen by millions as adapted for the movie Rent .

For more information on The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, to reserve your tickets, or for general information, call the Box Office at (321-783-3127.

For more information about the Youth Players Program, call (321)-784-9347.