APRIL FOOLS — The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre will now be known as Silence is Golden Theatre, a non-profit professional mime school and performance venue.
Two new proprietors have signed a lease for the space located at 25 N. Pineapple Ave. They wish to remain silent partners for the time being.
The owners named an artistic director, 47-year-old Calme Tromper, who has more than 25 years of experience teaching and performing. Tromper moved in 1992 from Paris to Florida, and has been living in Fort Myers since.
“I’ve known Sarasota to have a reputation as a fine-arts city,” he says. “I think this art (form), will do well here, and I’m looking forward to giving it a voice — well, kind of.”
The venue will host silent movies; weekly “sound off” mime recital performances; and larger-scale professional performances, “Quiet Time,” which will take place the first Friday of every month. The new partners hope to earn a reputation as the place to go for a quiet night out.
“There’s a stigma associated with miming,” Tromper says. “Some people believe any ignoramus can paint his face white and trap himself inside a box, but there’s a proper and classical method to it.”
Individual and group instruction in the art form that dates back to the 1700s will be offered to patrons of all ages once the theater’s doors open.
Class topics for both introductory and expert levels range from dance and improvisation to character development in both abstract and literal miming. One class, called Mime Rhyme Time, calls for two performers, each miming something that rhymes with whatever the other person mimed.
Tromper hopes the venue will eventually host master class workshops with famous mimes, but has nothing contracted yet.
“There’s a lot of renovation that needs to take place first,” Tromper says. “A lot.”
The group plans to transform the kitchen area into a classroom space, install soundproof insulation along the perimeters, build a 15-foot bar and install a sound booth. Tromper is especially excited for the state-of-the-art wireless sound system using Dolby Atmos, which delivers sound from above, rather than left and right, like it has in traditional theaters. He wants to make sure all body movements on stage are amplified as much as possible.
Instead of clapping at the end of performances, which can reach a high volume, Silence is Golden is recommending the audience snap in appreciation.
Renovation will begin immediately upon city approval of construction permits. A launch party will take place at noon, Monday, April 1, at Five Points Park for punch, cookies and a special performance.
“We want to welcome Sarasotans in our own way,” Tromper says. “So, we’re flying Troupe de Dramatique in from Paris to perform. Everyone is invited.”
Don’t expect him to say hello, but he’ll be sure to give you a wave or handshake.
A tentative opening is planned in time for season in November.
Tromper hopes to celebrate the opening with a stripes and beret gala and silent auction as a way to kick off funds for the nonprofit education program.
Turoffs donate 40 years of costumes to the homeless and Panhandlers
Owners of The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre for 42 years, Robert and Roberta Turoff, are relieved their year of stress is over; although they also feel it’s bittersweet that The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre is closing its doors.
Earlier in March, the landlord locked out the Golden Apple’s three new partners, which took over the establishment from the Turoffs in January.
“The most difficult part was moving out the 40 years of costumes,” Robert Turoff says. “In fact, it took us four days to move the female costumes alone.”
The Turoffs opted to host a costume sale, but it barely rid them of 5% of their huge stock of costumes.
“We had this idea to donate them,” he says. “And a friend of ours suggested, ‘Why not give them to the homeless?’”
The Turoffs donated four 7-foot-by-7-foot storage pods full of costumes to the city of Sarasota, and the clothes were distributed to the homeless last week. Some city officials say they believe the move brings a new aesthetic to the city streets, but others suggest it’s in poor taste.
The controversial issue will be discussed at the 6 p.m. April 1, at the City Commission Meeting.