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Canebrake welcomes Grothe

The Canebrake Players theater company’s newest summer production, “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel,” which opens July 29 and runs through Aug. 1, will be directed by Arthur Grothe, the assistant professor of theater and speech at the University of West Alabama.

Grothe received his undergraduate degree in English and theater at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, and his master of school administration degree in acting at the University of Florida.

Throughout his career in the theater, Grothe has portrayed lead characters for countless shows, including the characters of Macbeth and Macduff in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” the male lead of John Proctor in “The Crucible” and the dual role of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde in “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

In concordance with his several acting roles, Grothe has also tried his hand at directing many productions, including the gender-bending, comedic play-within-a-play, “Act A Lady,” and the musical production of young love and parental meddling called “The Fantasticks.”

Grothe began his work in Cleveland, Ohio, but sought to teach full-time, and after sending his resume to several colleges, he received a job at UWA. He recently completed his first year at the university and feels that his career in his new home is “so far, so good”.

“We had a good turnout for both shows at the school,” he said. “There have been some ups and downs, but we’re getting there.”

“Duck Hunter Shoots Angel” is the first production that Grothe will be directing for the Canebrake Players. It concerns two hunters in Alabama who have never shot a duck in their lives until they shoot what they believe is a duck, but turns out to be something of far greater consequence.

“Canebrake is a very vibrant group,” Grothe said. “They have a lovely building and a great amount of space. It’s tough in times like these to keep community theatres open and continue producing such good material.

“This group seems to genuinely care about the production and the team of actors and all the backstage personnel making it happen, like a family.”

When asked about his thoughts on “Duck Hunter” as a man from the northern U.S., Grothe replied, “I think it’s a very funny production, doing a great job balancing Northern and Southern humor. It has a very farcical premise, but underneath is a very moving story about how people can change and develop, and helps show some deeper aspects of humanity, be they black or white, from the North or the South.”

With his insight into the ins and outs of theater, perhaps Grothe will be able to bring even greater success to the Canebrake Players and accomplish the chief goal of such an enterprise, bringing entertainment to the community.