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All the world’s a stage

College Light Opera Company

Students working in the CLOC costume shop.

For each person that comes through the doors of CLOC, the takeaway is going to be different. What’s special about the program is that, as Pearson explains, it gives company members the opportunity, in fact the responsibility, to have a variety of different takeaways, and no matter the experience one has, improvement is inevitable. “When you’re educating someone with anything, but especially with performance and with art, there has to be a point where the only way you’re going to learn it is to do it. That coupled with the intensity of the program, you cannot help but improve. Improve or die,” he says, laughing.

Students of the program aren’t the only ones with the opportunity for an enriching experience. “Cape Cod has a really rich history of summer stock,” says Pearson. “There is a certain connection to place here that makes a lot of sense and is very special.” In celebration of that connection, CLOC strives every summer to create an immersive and special experience for its dedicated audiences.

“The best experience that an audience can have is that they come and see a show and leave saying, ‘I know I’m going to see one of those people on Broadway,’” says Pearson, explaining that it’s special for an audience member to know that they contributed to the training and future career of the performers who inspire them. “Those audience members who are familiar with the mission of the company realize this is really important work that’s happening here. It’s entertaining and fun, but it’s work, and it’s an important aspect that Falmouth provides a place for this work to happen.”

Set on an expansive six and a half acres, protected and shaded by grandiose pines, sits the CLOC campus. In the winter, the rehearsal spaces and surrounding cottages stand stoically, waiting for enthusiastic artists. In the summer, the babble of the estuary in back of the property is overshadowed by the lively chatter of young college students heading to rehearsal or to do their daily chores. But, no matter the time of year, there is a certain vibrancy that has settled onto the property; even in the absence of performers, it’s clear this is a place of creativity.

As CLOC enters its 50th year, the enriching atmosphere that it has provided to students and audiences alike will be on display with an exciting lineup of performances and celebrations, and as CLOC continues into future years, the commitment to entertainment can only grow, along with the talent and passion of the students. In a media-driven world, CLOC’s continuous dedication to putting life’s many experiences on stage is an undertaking that would make William Shakespeare himself proud. As Pearson puts it, “Live theater by definition cannot be digital. It has to be experienced in a dark room with strangers watching another stranger telling you something true about the human experience through story and music, and that’s something that you can’t experience with a device. You have to be in the room. It’s the ultimate ‘you had to be there.’”

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