Sauve honored

Published 4:55 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

Heavy rain Sunday afternoon could not keep a crowd of people from joining the celebration honoring Dudley Sauve at the Waterworks Theater, which a sign outside noted is “the house that Dudley built.”

Sauve, 88, has contributed a great deal to the world of community theater through teaching, directing and acting, and he has enriched that world in Farmville for the last 43 years.

Nancy Haga, who taught with Sauve at Longwood University, helped organize Sunday’s celebration with Daphne Mason, a member of the Waterworks Board of Directors and an actress who has performed in a number of plays directed by Sauve.

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Mason said Sunday’s event was created “to honor him for all he’s done for the community, what he’s brought to the community, what he continues to do for the community.

Haga said, “If you named one person in this whole area that’s had the impact on theater, it (has) to be him.”

The celebration took place on what Farmville Mayor David Whitus has officially proclaimed is Dudley Sauve Day — Oct. 29.

Haga was excited by the attendance in the face of inclement weather, estimating 150 people came out to honor Sauve.

“That rain and (the event) had that many people show up?” she said. “Oh, man — wonderful turnout. … And the age of the people that came in that rain, to me, was just amazing.”

Mason said, “It really was a wonderful turnout, and he was so pleased, so pleased.”
    The event functioned like a reception, with guests filing through the theater, speaking with Sauve and reading scrapbooks containing memories of his career. Included on stage was a large painting of Sauve and a chair where Sauve sometimes sat for photos between interactions with guests.

Posters of the plays he directed lined the walls, with a heavy concentration of them in the foyer, where guests were offered celebratory cake and were invited to sign a poster board with their name and a brief message for Sauve.

During the celebration, Mason had a surprise for Sauve in the form of a proclamation from the prestigious Omaha Community Playhouse (OCP).

“When I handed him the envelope, I said, ‘Pull out that white piece of paper,’” Mason said, “and he pulled out the piece of paper, and that’s the reason I stepped back, because I wanted him and his family to recognize it all at one time.”

With the OCP letterhead, the proclamation, addressed to Sauve, read, “Congratulations on all of your accomplishments! Sincerely, Omaha Community Playhouse.”

She noted while Sauve has been in plays since he was 5 years old, the OCP is basically where he got his start.

“He got his degree, and he taught at Creighton, and he taught at University of Nebraska in Omaha, and that’s when he began participating in the Omaha Community Playhouse,” Mason said.

Sauve, who has directed 175 plays over the course of 43 years, has also twice been recognized with the Fonda/McGuire Award, an honor which Mason said is given each year to an actress and actor who have done stellar work throughout the year.