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Welcome to the Arden Theatre Company blog, where we share behind-the-scenes stories and current happenings with you. You will hear from the Arden staff as well as actors and other visiting artists, and we hope to hear from you, too. If you have an idea for a topic, please post a comment about it. We can't wait to hear what you think!

By Megan Staples, clinic Development Assistant

I grew up in a busy suburban town, north of Philadelphia. Each year as an escape, my family lived at our mountain property during the month of August. Our “mountain escape” is located on what is really a large hill that was split by the Pennsylvania and New York state borders. Next door (and by next door, I mean 75 acres away) is a dairy farm with over 150 cows, a few horses, pigs, and even a peacock! On the property is a large pond with sandy banks, lots of fields and forest area, and an old maple tapping shed that is leftover from a defunct maple syrup company. For three young kids, this is paradise!

The New York Finger Lakes are only a short drive from the campsite and made for excellent day trips. Here are pictures of us swimming in our pond and hiking through the falls at Watkins Glen. My little brother is wearing an eye patch after hurting his eye in a fishing accident – he embraced his inner pirate for the rest of the summer.

 

 

By Leigh Goldenberg, Marketing and PR Manager

I grew up in an 1860’s farmhouse, on top of a hill, just 10 miles north of Philadelphia in Montgomery County. While definitely suburbia, our particular subset of the neighborhood was historical enough to be subject to approval of a committee for changing paint colors and other home improvements. I would always brag that our house was one of the three oldest in the area (surely, this was verified at some point) and would report to friends that 150 years ago, all of Wyncote was the farmland belonging to our little yellow house with blue shutters.

Part of our house’s historically authentic charm was its lack of central air conditioning. This made the summers especially unbearable. I slept with the newly installed ceiling fan at full speed and a collection of smaller fans placed strategically to surround me, pointing at my head, torso, and feet. (My parents have since caved and installed two window units. They and their two dogs reap the benefits of cooled air my brother and I missed out on.)

The tree lined street was also prone to power outages galore. In the winter, the ice weighed down the trees above the power lines, and we’d end up spending nights at friends’ houses or the nursing home my father ran. These outages were unpleasant, especially when, on one January birthday, I’d left my poor goldfish behind, and wondered if their water would freeze.

But summer power outages created a different kind of excitement. When an August thunderstorm would roll through, and an ancient branch would fall to knock out our power, we’d emerge from our house and venture past our porch. While families filled the homes on our block, we weren’t particularly social neighbors. My only real memories of everyone playing together were on these darkened summer nights. We all had our own flashlights, guiding our adventure to parts of the hill different from our usual haunts.

I remember thinking how much I loved those nights because of what was forgotten: neighborhood squabbles and alliances, what to watch on TV, the rising heat in our house. Once I even exclaimed to my mom: “I love blackouts! Everyone is so much nicer!” I’d then silently hope the power wouldn’t turn back on. That we could stay up later on the street that felt so alive, safe, and united.

 
Share YOUR August story! Click here for details.

August: What does the month mean to you? Does something special happen where you live, where you’re from, a place you visit?

A contest: Share your story with us in a contest inspired by August: Osage County by Tracy Letts and win an exclusive backstage tour from the cast of the Arden’s production.
Submit a story, a poem, a photo or video about your kind of August –  a memory, a tradition, a crazy story that happened one memorable summer…

How to enter: Email your submission to august@ardentheatre.org either as an attachment or as a link to your submission online – YouTube, your personal blog or Facebook page, etc. (Files larger than 1MB must be sent as links).

Fine Print and Prizes: By submitting your content, you agree that the Arden may re-post on the company’s website or social media outlets. Entries will be accepted from August 1-31. Two winners will be chosen – one with the most online views and one selected by the all-star Philadelphia cast of August: Osage County. Winners will be announced by September 12 and will receive an exclusive backstage tour of the set for August: Osage County with members of the cast!

©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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