My Ohio: At age 81, retired scenic designer works in theater at Oberlin retirement center

Former theater scenic designer still loves stage

OBERLIN, Ohio - When William Shakespeare penned the well-known phrase, "All the world's a stage and all the men and women players," he could easily have been describing a retired theatrical and television scenic designer who, at age 81, is on a mission to build sets for an Oberlin, Ohio, retirement center.

For many decades, Bob Cothran, a resident at Kendal at Oberlin, designed and built sets for theatrical productions and television stations in several communities. When he moved to Oberlin from Tennessee, where he had been a professor of theater at two universities, he found his passion again.

"There's bound to be occasions when they need things made," said Cothran, who saw opportunities to build sets for the theatrical productions for the several hundred elderly residents who live at Kendal. Cothran heard there were plans for a celebration of the Winter Solstice. So he volunteered to build a set highlighting the sun, moon and stars.

"All the choral members and actors processed in carrying the sun and the moon and the stars," said Cothran, who beams with any discussion of his work.

During an interview, his fingers were stained with paints of varying colors. He was in the process of painting a mural he plans to hang outside the dining area for the residents. In his painting are people on horseback or in horse-drawn carriages who are leaving their city, in search of something.

"I call it 'The Journey in Search of Curious Herbs and Spices," said Cothran, who added the herbs and spices for which all people search are the things which give meaning to life.

His eyes sparkle at any mention of art or design. He said he sees theater all around.

"We are surrounded by it," insists Cothran, who has also performed as actor early in his career. "You've got a chance to dig into and do it," said Cothran, with a broad smile. "That's what life is for."

                                 ###

Print this article Back to Top

Comments

My Ohio Stories

Cleveland Cleveland's League Park, original home of Indians baseball team, is running the bases again

The city of Cleveland has big plans for League Park.

 

 

 

Cleveland Mounted Police unit relies on donations to keep the horses hoofing Cleveland Mounted Police unit relies on donations to keep the horses hoofing

Expenses for the horses in the Cleveland Mounted Police unit, their feed, and their upkeep is not covered by the city. The expenses of the purchases of the horses and all that involves them is covered by donations. 

Friday during the season of Lent means fish fries in many churches and schools Friday during the season of Lent means fish fries in many churches and schools

Friday fish fries in churches and schools provide a way for the Christian faithful to both serve the community and make money.

Root Candle has kept a light in the window for generations, providing for church and home Root Candle has kept a light in the window for generations, providing for church and home

The Root Candle Company of Medina, Oh., has sold its candles around the U.S. The company got its start back in 1869. 

Oberlin was a key stop on the Underground Railroad which was an escape route for slaves in the 1800s Oberlin was a key stop on the Underground Railroad which was an escape route for slaves in the 1800s

Oberlin, Ohio was a key stop on the Underground Railroad, which was a secret route of which runaway slaves followed as they escaped Southern captivity as they sought freedom in Northern states and Canada.

The Book Loft in Columbus boasts 500,000 volumes in a bookstore boasting 32 rooms, each filled The Book Loft in Columbus boasts 500,000 volumes in a bookstore boasting 32 rooms, each filled

The Book Loft in Columbus is a tourist attraction for readers.

Cleveland chocolate shop pairs tasty handmade candies with wines and beers Cleveland chocolate shop pairs tasty handmade candies with wines and beers

Lilly's Handmade Chocolates in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland not only sells chocolate candy, but also wines and beers. The idea is to pair chocolates with alcohol. "They can go together," said Amanda Montague, owner.

Lake County costume designer is a big hit from Broadway to Disney to the 3-ring circus Lake County costume designer is a big hit from Broadway to Disney to the 3-ring circus

As a child, Greg Poplyk attended an opera in an auditorium and saw stage "snow" falling on the performers. It was enough to change his life for that moment pushed him into the theater, where he found his passion was in costuming the people on stage.

My Ohio: Local bourbon maker Cleveland Whiskey My Ohio: Local bourbon maker Cleveland Whiskey 'ages' liquor faster with unique high-tech process

A new Cleveland distillery is taking on the big boys of bourbon by making a liquor which requires considerably less aging for taste.

Ice Fishing on Wallace Lake  in the Cleveland Metroparks Ice Fishing on Wallace Lake in the Cleveland Metroparks

I called a friend who is expert in ice fishing technique and told him, "We ought to go fishin.'" He took me up on the request. But I found something surprising on the ice and it was not fish.