January 13, 2006
Carole Peterson Wendt's Memories of the University of Minnesota Theatre (Part 1)
One of the most vivid memories I have of my years at the University of Minnesota is riding across Wisconsin sitting next to Doctor Frank Whiting, or "Doc," as we called him.
Doc was driving. Anyone who ever rode with Doc will now feel a chill of fear. Doc was, to put it mildly, an adventurous driver. Fast and erratic. The vehicle was a University of Minnesota van filled with dancers on the way to a performance at Northwestern University. Our leader and choreographer was Bob Moulton. I remember Bill Phelps was among the passengers. At every opportunity, the group would urge me to take over the driving. They were terrified. I was the only other person legally qualified to drive. I had a license and I was an employee of the University; at the time I worked at the library. I kept asking Doc if he were tired of driving; I told him I would be happy to take over. "Oh, no," he said jauntily, "I love to drive." At one point he told me he loved to pass cars on a hill because it was exciting not knowing what was coming the other way. I have to assume he was joking because he never did pass on a hill during our long, long ride to and from Evanston, and he never once let go of that steering wheel.
I will never forget Bob Moulton. I first met him when he designed and fitted the gorgeous gowns I wore in the French play, "Le Medecin Malgre Lui." I played Lucinde, the ingenue, and daughter of the "medecin" played by Bill Hillard. A wonderful actor with a brilliant mind. He later became a good friend. I
was new to the theatre then. Having the charismatic costume designer Professor Moulton at my feet pinning and measuring and tugging away to make the gowns perfect was almost more of a thrill than I could stand. My theatrical experience was limited, having just recently left my hometown of Litchfield,
Minnesota, population 5,000: "large enough to serve you, small enough to know you" was the town motto. Wearing those beautiful gowns with their huge hoop skirts and outfitted with a white upswept wig, I couldn't have had a more lovely entry into the University of Minnesota theater world. And all in French, no less.
END PART ONE, MORE TO COME
Posted by utheatre at January 13, 2006 1:33 PM | University Theatre Memories