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Caroline Dick rehearses for 'Red Velvet Cake Wars' with Jim Hilliard; the ACT 1 play opens tonight.

Although she had done some acting in high school, Caroline Dick says it took her a long time to decide to audition for community theater as an adult.

She plays the role of grumpy, well-dressed, sharp-tongued matriarch La Merle Verdeen Minshew in the ACT 1 production of “The Red Velvet Cake War,” which opens tonight at the Palace Theatre.

Caroline made her ACT 1 debut in “Picnic” in 2011.

“After I saw the announcement for Picnic and read about the play, it took me many days of turmoil while I tried to talk myself out of it,” she recalls. “I knew nothing about community theatre. I didn’t know any of the people involved in Act I of Benton County. It was a ginormous unknown – not something I’m very good with. It takes a great deal of poking and prodding for me to step outside of my comfort zone and this was way, way, way outside the hemisphere of my comfort zone. Although no one ever believes me when I say this, I am actually quite shy when I meet new people. Maybe it is because I don’t really have a filter, and I’ve learned to stay away to keep from embarrassing myself, or maybe it’s because I’m really just insecure, who knows.”

Despite these doubts, she auditioned, and landed the role of Flo Owens, the single mom of main character.

“In any event I am so very glad that I did go to auditions,” says Caroline. “I have now been in four Act I productions. Now that the community theatre bug has bitten me, I find myself looking forward to the announcements of what is coming up next.”

‘Lost in character’

As La Merle Verdeen Minshew, Caroline says she gets the opportunity to be funny while also being less-than-nice.

“I think my favorite part of Act I productions is being able to lose myself in a character. Whether my role is dramatic or comedic, I love to be able to ‘become’ someone else in every way, even for just a short time,” she explains. “ I do have to say, however, that contrary to popular opinion, I am not really a mean person in my day-to-day life. In this production I get to be mean and make people laugh about it. Which means I don’t have to feel guilty, right?”

Another aspect of ACT 1 that Caroline enjoys is meeting new people in each cast. While she plans to continue in ACT 1, she may also look for other community theater opportunities in the future.

“My next step, maybe Theatre Cedar Rapids,” she says, more as a question than a statement. “Well, that stick has been poking me for a while – maybe after all the chicks have left the nest.”

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Comments (2)

Sure looking forward to seeing this production tonite...I know the cast & crew have been very dedicated in putting on this show.
By: Brenda Hackbarth on March 6th 12:57pm
Way to go,Carry! We are really looking forward to the play. Have fun! Best of luck to all!
By: Mary Paustian on March 6th 3:03pm

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