One Milledgeville father and son duo’s hobbies align with the stars.
Ken and Clay Garland have a love for theater that sparked a connection that has lasted a lifetime.
Both their relationship and the stage have a special place in their hearts.
Clay, Ken’s son, grew up around theater. Ken performs with the Milledgeville Players and between seeing his dad on stage and watching plays at home, it worked out that Clay also had a special place for the acting and directing that came along with the flair of dramatics.
Clay went to Georgia College and majored in theatre. He is directing his first Milledgeville Players play, “Waiting for Godot,” and it just so happens that his dad plays one of the leads.
“At Georgia College, there’s a Directing I and Directing II class that I really enjoyed,” Clay said. “In school, I mostly did sound and lighting design and then I stayed in the theatrical realm, that’s what I do full time at Georgia College. My dad said that they were thinking about doing it [“Waiting for Godot,”] and I hadn’t directed in a while, and I thought it would be really fun. It’s been really rewarding.”
When Clay signed up to direct, Ken followed suit.
“We don’t get to spend a lot of time together anymore,” Ken said. “So when he said he wanted to direct it, I said, ‘OK let’s do it.’”
Weeks and weeks of practices, learning lines and blocking the show has allowed the two to see each other in a setting where they both carry a passion.
“[He’s done] very well so far,” Ken exclaimed. “It’s no surprise to me, he’s very talented.”
“It’s been great. It’s been really great working with my dad and I was really able to get into theater because of my dad,” Clay said.
Ken got into theater in college, later passing his interest down to his son.
“I was a college student, 1977, and I met up with somebody that was another theatre geek and they [dragged] me into it and that was it,” Ken said.
While Ken does theater for the fun and social aspects — working as a deputy coroner during the day and an actor by night — Clay has made it a part of his career.
“I was really able to get into theater at a really young age because of my dad, so it’s been really cool to be post-graduate and a professional in the entertainment kind of field and getting to come back and doing another play with him, it’s been really rewarding,” Clay said.
Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the precautions everyone it taking, Clay and Ken’s play has been postponed until further notice, however, the show must go on. Their passions remain alive amid the chaos.
“Directing gives you this special position to make a play that you want to see,” Clay said.