In each newsletter, we’d like to take a moment to spotlight one of our volunteers who makes our theatre productions possible! Dennis Merkle is the set designer and master carpenter for Fools.
Theatre has been part of Dennis Merkle’s life since high school when he played the title role in The Death and Life of Larry Benson. In the intervening years he has married (to wife Deb in 1978), changed careers (from psychopharmacology research to physician assistant), moved (from Philadelphia to Lewisburg, then Winfield) and has raised a family.
When his daughter was a freshman at Lewisburg Area High School, Dennis answered the call to help behind the scenes for the spring musical. His involvement with set building has grown and for the last three years he has been intimately involved in set design for the LAHS musical. Once his own kids were out of the house Deb was “concerned that I would spend too much time at home driving her crazy. She found a notice regarding a local community theater holding auditions and suggested that I contact them and offer my services.”
The talented Mr. Merkle has worked both in front and behind the curtain in many area productions and we are thrilled that he took the lead in creating the set for Fools. For Dennis, community theatre is fun, but it also provides an opportunity for personal growth. “I think that it is way too easy to define myself by what I do and forget to have fun. Getting outside the day-to-day reality provides balance. As hokey as it sounds, theater expands us as individuals. It helps to develop vocabulary, self critique, speaking skills, public confidence and social skills. These are facets that each of us can take into our daily lives that help to make us more interesting people.”