Community members had the opportunity to watch a nationally acclaimed theater group perform on Tuesday. The Bright Star Touring Theatre visited Lincolnton as part of the Lincoln County Public Library’s summer reading event. Based out of Asheville, Bright Star performances are geared toward education while being entertaining at the same time. The production “One Small Step: the Real Life Journey to Outer Space,” was performed by two high-energy individuals, both originally from North Carolina, Adrian Cardwell and Lani Skelley. 

In the show, Sam, played by Skelley, and Calvin, played by Cardwell, are asked to prepare a presentation about outer space and the history of flight. Throughout the performance, Cardwell and Skelley slip in and out of a backdrop to change characters and costumes. The performance started at the beginning with Icarus and Daedalus, who attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that Daedalus made from feathers and wax, and go all the way to Elon Musk, who wants to take people to Mars one day.

“It’s a really fun 45-minute show that really jumps through and gives a lot of interaction,” Skelley said. “In this show I play seven different characters and Adrian plays nine. It’s a lot of fun and it makes me excited to switch in and out of characters.”

Despite the educational quality of the production, the two actors’ animated performance kept the attention of even the younger children throughout the entire show.

After the show in Lincolnton, Cardwell and Skelley were off to Virginia, then Maryland and after that Kentucky and then Ohio. They’ll travel together for two months in a Dodge Grand Caravan that’s completely full of costumes, props and set pieces.

“In the beginning we had a clear understanding of what we wanted this experience to be,” Skelley said. “When you’re spending so much time with somebody and relying on them so much, you learn to trust really quickly. We both came into it with a very similar mindset.”

The way a tour partner relationship works is interesting, Cardwell added. 

“You can say from the beginning, ‘this is what I expect from you,’ but from there you become friends,” he said. 

Not only are the two counting on each other while they are on stage but they’re also depending upon each other to get from place to place, get hotels in order, compete expense reports and so many other things above and beyond acting. Bright Star actors average 1,000 miles per week traveling the country to entertain young audiences.

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