Del Rocca’s 2x4
Town Book 2x3 Philathalians of Fanwood
Enter 67th Year Serving Local Theater Lovers By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
Editor’s Note: The following is a continuation of this newspaper’s series of articles on community theaters as part of the celebration of October as Arts and Humanities Month.
* * * * * The historical Fanwood Carriage House on 129 Watson Road in Fanwood embodies the theatrical spirit of The Philathalians, a theater troupe which has convened for approximately 67 years.
The Philathalians derives its name from the Greek word “phila” meaning “lover of” and “Thalia,” the Goddess of comedy.
The group combined its love for theater and comedy in 1932, when a group of Fanwood residents formed a drama club to create a diversion from the doldrums of the Great Depression and met as a social club. The members were employees of Westinghouse Corporation who shared a love for theater.
Plays and workshops were held in the homes of troupe members who began staging plays in local churches and schools. Over the years, the theater was housed at the Fanwood Bank. In 1961, the theater moved to a barn on Elm Street in Fanwood.
In 1982, the Philathalians began performing in the Carriage House, a historical landmark in Fanwood. The group transformed the House into theater space, accommodating room for a stage, audience seating with a capacity for 50 audience members, a backstage area, dressing room and storage area.
Former Mayor now Union County Freeholder Linda d. Stender, the
Fanwood Borough Council and the Junior Women’s Club of Fanwood were responsible for leading the conversion of the Carriage House into the present theater.
The Philathalians are strictly a volunteer-based membership organization with many opportunities for participation in various capacities such as helping backstage or working on sets, makeup, props and publicity.
A membership cost of $15 includes one complimentary ticket to each production. Members are also asked to become active in at least one production.
According to Jan Gabrielson, Vice President of Production, The Philathalians had a table at Fanny Wood Day.
Last year, the theater was nominated for a Perry Award for Best Production of Other People’s Money and was nominated in 1996 for Best Acting Ensemble in its production of Painting Churches, which was directed by Gordon Weiner.
Mr. Weiner, a member of the Philathalians, described the various upcoming productions which are planned for the season.
The season will begin with the fall production of Paul Osborn’s On Borrowed Time which will be directed by Mr. Weiner. The play will run for four weekends, beginning on Friday, October 30.
Play It Again, Sam, a Woody Allen creation, opens on Friday, February 12, and will be directed by Dennis Freeland.
On Friday, April 23, the theater will present The House of Blue Leaves, a play by John Guare to be directed by Ed Guinan.
The Philathalians call themselves “a thriving, growing part of the fabric of Fanwood.” The theater invites new volunteers to contact them at (908) 322-8686.
They note that, “If you can hammer a nail, paint scenery, sew a costume, or serve refreshments, you can be an active member of The Philathalians.”
The future holds great possibilities for the Philathalians. The Borough of Fanwood has started an effort to renovate the Carriage House to transform it into a cultural arts center.
The renovations include the installation of a handicapped bathroom. According to Ms. Gabrielson, a new shingled roof was added to the building as part of the renovations. The theater group intends to maintain the “historical integrity” which encompasses the Carriage House.
JOIN OUR SALE…The Westfield Day Care Center Auxiliary will hold its annual children’s outgrown clothing, toy and book sale on Friday, October 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Westminster Hall of The Presbyterian Church in Westfield, 110 Mountain Avenue. For further information, please call the center at (908) 232-6717. All profits will benefit the Auxiliary’s Scholarship Fund. The center’s tuition is based on a sliding scale which allows qualified families to receive some scholarship funding. Pictured are Katie Caruso, left, and Emily Gretsky of the center.
Woman’s Club Plans Benefit Dining Event
At Area Friendly’s
FANWOOD — The Woman’s Club of Fanwood, in cooperation with Friendly’s Restaurant in Mountainside, will hold a fundraiser/benefit dinnertime tonight, Thursday, October 22, from 5 to 8 p.m.
At that time, the public is invited to eat dinner, or buy food for take-out, at Friendly’s. The money spent on dinners will help the Woman’s Club of Fanwood raise funds for their many donations to local charities and service organizations.
For further information, please call Barbara Couphos, Club President, at (908) 322-7892.
Bond Referendum Discussions To Begin Tonight at Jefferson
WESTFIELD – Dr. William J. Foley, Superintendent of Westfield Public Schools, will discuss the proposed school bond referendum and recommendations of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee during upcoming information sessions to which the public is invited.
Details of the proposal will be presented by Dr. Foley at Jefferson Elementary School on Boulevard tonight, Thursday, October 22, at 8:15 p.m.; Franklin Elementary School on Prospect Street on Thursday, November 5, at 7:30 p.m.; Washington Elementary School on St. Marks Avenue on Monday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m., and Tamaques Elementary School on Willow Grove Road on Wednesday, November 18, at 7:15 p.m.
Dr. Foley and Business Administrator Robert Berman will also be on
hand to answer questions during the programs.
The sessions are sponsored by the Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) and Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) of the school district.
The Citizens’ Advisory Committee, which was comprised of volunteers representing a cross section of the community, has recommended an $11.7 million bond to fund capital improvements, classroom additions and technology infrastructure in the school district. The Board of Education unanimously supports the recommendations.
For more information or to schedule a presentation by Dr. Foley or Mr. Berman, please call the Office of the Superintendent at (908) 789-4420.
LEARN Speaker to Focus On Fibromyalgia Syndrome
SCOTCH PLAINS — Marie Kassai, the Director of Patient Care, Chief Nurse Executive of General Hospital Center in Passic, will address the League for Educational Advancement for Registered Nurses (LEARN) on Monday, October 26, at 7:45 p.m. at the All Saints’ Episcopal Church Parish House, 559 Park Avenue in Scotch Plains.
The program will provide information about Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS). Nurse participants will be given an explanation of Fibromyalgia and how to identify the conditions which may co-exist with FMS.
Contact hours, which count as credit hours, of 2.4 have been submitted for approval to the New Jersey State Nurses Association, which is accredited as an approver of Continuing Education in Nursing by the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
Ms. Kassai, a certified HIV Counselor, is Past President of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. She is also a lecturer and author on topics related to infection control and patient care.
LEARN, a professional organization for registered nurses, offers eight
programs per academic year on current nursing topics. There is an annual membership fee of $35, or a guest fee of $10 per program.
For more information, please write to LEARN, P. O. Box 6, Scotch Plains, 07076, or call the Program Coordinator at (908) 272-7239.
SP Board of Education Alters School Calendar
SCOTCH PLAINS The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education has announced the cancellation of staff professional days scheduled for the district for Friday, October 23; Friday, December 4, and Friday, January 8, 1999.
The days were canceled due to job actions currently being staged by the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Education Association, according to school officials.
All students will attend school for a full day on each of these days. Please note that this is a change from the single-session days which were originally scheduled.
Westfield Test Scores Surpass State and National Average
WESTFIELD – The Westfield Public School district has announced that the combined average of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) for the Westfield High School (WHS) graduating class of 1998 was 1113, with 562 in mathematics and 551 in the verbal portion.
These results are 96 points higher than the national average of 1017, and 108 points above the state average of 1005, according to school district spokeswoman Lorre Korecky.
Ninety-eight percent of the WHS graduating class took the SATs, which is the largest percentage in recent history, the spokeswoman confirmed.
In addition to the achievements of the 1998 graduating class, nine WHS seniors also achieved exceptional SAT scores. Last spring, five of these students received perfect 800 scores on the SAT I, and there were seven perfect scores on the SAT II.
Jeffrey Diamond, Yair Ghitza and Andrew Lange scored 800 on the mathematics portion, while Jessica Hu and Ilka Netravali tallied 800s on the verbal section of the test.
In the SAT II (tests in specific subjects), Tara Bhandari, Caitlin Nish and Amy Philips obtained 800 each in Writing; Jessica Hu and Andrew Lange scored 800 each in Math Level 2; and So Young Yang received a
perfect score in Korean. WHS students also excelled in Advanced Placement tests administered this spring. The results indicate that 88 percent of the tests taken by WHS students were at levels 3, 4 or 5 — levels necessary for advanced standing or credit in colleges and universities, Mrs. Korecky said. This exceeds the national average of approximately 64 percent.
In May, 159 students took the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, with 140 achieving level 3 or better in one or more AP tests.
Westfield High School offers 14 advanced placement courses including United States History, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, English Language, English Literature, European History, French, American Government, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Physics, Psychology, and Spanish.
In releasing the SAT and AP results, Dr. Cas Jakubik, Supervisor of Guidance, said, “The members of the Class of 1998 have every reason to be proud of their accomplishments on the SAT I, SAT II and Advanced Placement Tests.
“Their achievements reflect their academic ideals and their personal commitment to excellence,” he concluded.
Women Voters Issue Overview
Of Area Races
The Union County Leagues of Women Voters has announced that copies of its General Election overview are available at the offices of
The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood, 50 Elm Street in Westfield, and at the Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood and Mountainside libraries.
The overview profiles candidates for Union County Freeholder, Sheriff, and the Seventh and 10th Congressional Districts. Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 3.
The league serves the Westfield Area as well as the communities of Berkeley Heights, Cranford, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, New Providence, Plainfield, Springfield, Summit and Union.
Greenbaum 2x7 Ashbrook Center Plans
SCOTCH PLAINS – The Ashbrook Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Scotch Plains has announced the return of its annual “Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin” contest.
All children between the ages of 3 to 12 are invited to visit Ashbrook, located at 1610 Raritan Road, to guess the weight of a giant-sized pumpkin. Prizes will be awarded to the children who come closest to guessing the correct weight.
Entry forms are now available at Ashbrook’s reception desk, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. One entry per child is permitted.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, October 31. For more information, please call Ashbrook’s Activity Department at (908) 889-5500.