As many of you know, the recently completed fall play, Cooking with Gus was a tremendous success. What many don’t know is that another story was playing out in the background. Connie Ward, who played Carmen, had major back surgery in Reno, Nevada on Sept. 10. Luckily, one of the top neurosurgeons was available for the emergency procedure. She was not able to stand up on her own for many days.
With rehearsals starting Oct. 1, she knew she would face many obstacles, including the long drive from Lake Tahoe. She wondered if she should give up the role. She felt the tremendous draw of the Community Circle Players beckoning her back. However, she did not make the final decision until director Shawne Cryderman told her that somehow, someway, whatever it takes, they would make it work.
Without hesitation, the cast and crew circled the wagons. There were many physical things that Connie could not do. For instance, she could not get up off of the sofa unassisted. Therefore, Tim Morsani (“Walter”) assisted her in standing up and, it was discreetly engineered into the script. Also, the sofa was very soft which made it even more difficult to stand up. Tim then crafted a wooden insert to add firmness to the sofa.
In Carmen’s role, she was supposed to be carrying a large and heavy bag. Since Connie was limited to ten pounds, Susan Sterling (“Gus”) went to a local grocery store and borrowed a shopping cart to hold the bag. All in all, everyone involved in the play agreed that the changes actually improved the play. It was truly serendipity. All of these acts of kindness further strengthened the Community Circle Players’ bond. We’ll call it the “Connie ‘Ward Bond.’”