Theater Director

I began directing in 1983 and have since worked for many theater groups in Sonoma and Marin Counties, including 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, Novato Theater Company and Spreckels Theater in Rohnert Park. Some favorite plays are:

Odd Couple, Female Version
Cheaper by the Dozen
Gin Game
Beyond Therapy
My Left Breast
Oleanna
The Ticking Clock

Huge effort! The thing I love most about community theater is the people. Everyone works hard for the love of the art. Besides the actors and director, others crucial to the success of any show will include the stage manger, light and sound designers, set designer and construction crew and costumer. Behind all of these people are the board of directors, the theater manger, and all of the committees to raise money, sell tickets, and publicize the theater.
Actually, that’s me with the white cap on in the picture below for the play Curious Savage.One of my actresses became ill one hour before curtain and, well, as director I knew the script, soooooo, I substituted! In over 30 years this was the first time I had to go on stage for an actor. I had lots of support and the show survived!
I am very fortunate because my husband Harry is an architect who designs all the sets for my shows, such as, the one here, Beyond Therapy. We have many talented actors in our area, like Norman A Hall and Shirley Hall, two of our most well known stars who performed in Gin Game.

REVIEWS · Please enjoy the following reviews.

OleannaDirected by Linda Loveland Reid…was performed in April 2008 at 6th Street Playhouse, in Santa Rosa, California.Review by Barry Willis, freelance writer.”Not to be missed is the 6th Street Playhouse production of David Mamet’s Oleanna. Like Mamet’s American Buffalo, it’s an intense, tightly-scripted depiction of people in a hell of their own making… John (Tim Kniffin) is a pompous, overbearing university professor whose efforts to buy a home hinge on his being granted tenure. Carol (Gwen Kingston) is a timid undergrad who can’t grasp what’s being taught and asks for help—she needs to pass John’s class to get into graduate school. The dismissive unconcern he shows her in the first act comes back to haunt him in the second, when Carol returns as a newly-baptized radical feminist armed with a sheaf of sexual harassment charges. Their opposing agendas collide with devastating results. Mamet’s genius is that he doesn’t take either side. Both characters are by turns sympathetic and despicable, and director Linda Reid slowly and masterfully turns up the heat from slow simmer to full boil. Kniffin and Kingston are brilliantly authentic in this emotional, thought-provoking enactment of mutually assured destruction. Running through April 12, Oleanna is a play worthy of repeated viewings.”My Left Breast

Directed by Linda Loveland Reid

SONOMA VALLEY SUN/January 6, 2005

By: Cassady Jeremias

Breasts, scars, men and menopause are among the topics acted out during Studio Be’s production of My Left Breast, which starts Thursday at the Sonoma Community Center.

The Obie-award-winning drama was written by Susan Miller 20 years after her battle with breast cancer.

The show starts with three actresses reminiscing about the reaction of Miller’s 8-year-old son when he finds out his mother has lost her breast.

Miller, at age 35, had to have a mastectomy. Her son, Jeremy, volunteered to “get it back” for her.

The story, originally written as a monologue, is told with humor and nostalgia and shows the strength of the female without being too tragic or vivid.

“I was reading the script and it occurred to me, this one woman represents all women,” Director Linda Reid says. “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see it with three different personalities?”

Reid, who first directed a play at SCC in 1982, said she was concerned about adapting the play. She did not want to interfere with the integrity of the work or with the reaction of the audience. Would they get it? Reid said it worked beautifully and should attract a range of audience members.

It’s not just about breast cancer. It’s about her relationship with another woman, her relationship with her son Jeremy who she adopted with her husband. It’s about discovery,” Reid said. “Some is funny, some is sad, some is poignant.”

Reid said the script touched her personally as a woman. While she was working this play, she was “called back” by the doctor to have a second look at her left breast. All was well.

They have been confounded with a number of setbacks. They dressed head-to-toe in warm clothing hoping to stave off frostbite as they rehearsed in a freezing room. One actress wore a ski bib, and another wore earmuffs. The cast also dealt with the loss of one actress, the death of a mother, a hurt arm, and a broker foot.

But all of this added to the energy of the production, which is played out thoughtfully by women who have experienced one or more of Miller’s personas.

“I am a one-breasted, menopausal, Jewish, bisexual, lesbian mom, and I am in!” goes one line of the play.

All actresses are professional women from Sonoma County who were touched by the message in one way or another.

“It is grand fun and it might make a difference,” actress Stacey Kerr said. Kerr is a retired family physician from Santa Rosa. “I’m surprised about how the lines of this play come up in real life,” Kerr said. “If it were out on DVD I’d have to watch it two or three times to get the full experience.”

Actress Eileen McCann is a psychotherapist and author. Monica McKey has been acting in Sonoma since 1981, and started directing in 1996.

After the play, there will be a 30-minute question and answer session to encourage discussion.

The group is expecting an audience of “stalwart theater goers,” perhaps lesbians and breast cancer survivors, and mother and daughter duos.

Gin Game,Directed by Linda Loveland Reid…produced by Novato Theater Company in March 2008.Norman A. Hall and Shirley Nilsen Hall, a real-life husband and wife team.Reviewed by Mark Langton, Marin Independent Journal. Article 02/13/2008 09:01:47 PM PST

Four minutes before anyone utters a line in “The Gin Game,” now playing at the Novato Theater Company’s Pacheco Playhouse in Ignacio, veteran North Bay actor Norman A. Hall steps onto the stage and does a full four minutes of “shtick” involving, among other things, the opening of a card table.

It is a setup of the highest order: Everything you’d want to know about his character, Weller Martin – his frustration, his need for (and lack of) control, his short fuses and slow burns – is there in those four minutes. It is a masterful exercise in comic understatement; as played by Hall, Martin is revealed to be a man with a system – and the system isn’t working. The center does not hold.

And there the “shtick” ends. For this is not a comedy, but a serious piece of theater – a tragedy with laughs, if you will, that could hold itself up with anything currently at ACT.

In its ongoing bid to shed its backwater image and be held to as high a standard as other quality North Bay community theater companies, the Novato Theater Company has succeeded in pulling out another small triumph with this revival of D.L. Coburn’s “The Gin Game,” thanks primarily to the considerable talents of the husband-and-wife acting team of:

Norman A. Hall and Shirley Nilsen Hall of Novato.

“The Gin Game” earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1978 when first produced with Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, another married couple. Revised in 1997 with Charles Durning and Julie Harris, it won a Tony that year. Mary Tyler Moore and Dick Van Dyke took their turn as the two feisty elders in a PBS television special.

A poignant story of the developing relationship between two senior citizens, the play is set on the porch of a run-down “old folks home,” and concerns the relationship between the curmudgeonly Martin, a longtime resident, and new arrival Fonsia Dorsey. Both have come to the last act of their lives without much in the way of money, friends or family, so they find in each other a comrade in a dark and hostile cave – and do so by playing gin rummy. The game is played throughout most of the play’s action and neatly orchestrates the relationship between the two.

For his part, Norman A. Hall reins himself in, playing Martin with great generosity when his wife is onstage. Normally an inadvertent scene-stealer by sheer force of his talent for comedy (among his signature roles have been Alfred P. Doolittle in “My Fair Lady,” Sir Joseph Porter in “H.M.S. Pinafore” and the ghost of John Barrymore in “I Hate Hamlet”), this is clearly serious business to actor Hall, resulting in a thoughtful, at times nearly terrifying, nuanced rendering of the role.

But it was Shirley Hall who was a revelation to this critic (no doubt, due to this critic’s neglect), having only seen her in the past in light musicals. She is every bit the match for her husband, sinking her teeth into every meaty bit of this role. At times ferocious, at others demure, when called on to be funny, she expertly plays the situation for laughs, not the character. When called upon to be vulnerable, she startles us, suddenly, by revealing the Girl Who Was.

Both of these actors, in fact, have an ageless quality, a playfulness onstage in key scenes, that is, ironically, ideally suited to the elders in this story. For example, there is a moment in Act I where Fonsia can’t find one of her cards, only to discover that she’d been holding it in her teeth. At the moment of her discovery, she catches Weller’s eye, and they both smile. It is a lovely moment that crystallizes both the bond between these two characters as well as between this man and this woman.

Anyone who’d like to see how two truly fine actors can make your heart ache for two ordinary people whose lives have slid from dreary to discarded, run, don’t walk, to the Pacheco Playhouse. I hear it’s the best game in town.