Bob Low: ‘I’m the Real Winner’ After Sponsoring ‘A Tale of Two Cities’
By A Noise Within
December 19, 2017
Becoming a Production Sponsor is an incredibly special experience offered at A Noise Within. Not only does it help to underwrite the production costs of a play, it also creates a unique opportunity to see the power that classical theatre has to transform lives. Bob Low chose to sponsor A Tale of Two Cities in honor of his wife, Anni Frandsen Low, Ph.D. this Fall season at A Noise Within.
At my stage in life I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to play a small role in the production of A Tale of Two Cities, King Lear, and The Man of La Mancha. The experience has been both intellectually challenging and personally rewarding. It has brought me a sense of purpose in living. It has made each day exciting and rewarding. I’m the real winner.
– Bob Low
Bob took the opportunity to help engage students with live theatre, read on to learn about his experience. (Responses have been edited for length.)
Q: What brought you to A Noise Within?
A: Anni had a long interest in drama. She read an article in the newspaper about the opening of A Noise Within at its new facility and she thought she would try it out. She was totally impressed because it was close, you didn’t have to fight traffic to get to downtown LA, the parking was outstanding, and the drama was excellent. She was hooked. I don’t think she missed a play after she started attending when it opened at the new facility.
Q: Anni is recognized as the donor in all of your contributions, can you tell us why ANW and theatre was important to her?
A: She was born in Denmark and left school at the end of the 10th grade – I guess she was 15. She immigrated to the United States in 1949. She stayed with some distant relatives in Monrovia, and they took her to Monrovia High School and enrolled her there. She felt she would benefit more from drama than the traditional curriculum – you know, history and things like that. They felt she needed to improve her fluency in English. So, they enrolled her in drama classes and she read plays and took roles in small productions and really enjoyed it. She deeply admired good playwrights. One of her favorite plays was Death of a Salesman because she was fascinated by the author’s ability to capture the struggle that salesmen face. It reminded her so much of her own father, who was a salesman and was marginally successful in his early years. She identified with that struggle. She really appreciated drama.
Q: You have sponsored a couple of different productions, how do you choose which play you want to sponsor?
A: I look for a great story with a timely message. I think that fits all of the plays at A Noise Within.
This Fall, I chose A Tale of Two Cities. That sponsorship came from a conversation I had with Julia Rodriguez-Elliott … I asked her what the plans were for the theatre for the upcoming year. She mentioned A Tale of Two Cities, I bought the book and read it.
Miss Pross and her views on monarchy grabbed my attention because she was a firm believer in monarchy. That reminded me of both Anni and my own father. Anni lived in Denmark and in her childhood, witnessed and experienced the German occupation. One of her most vivid memories of the German occupation was the king of Denmark, Christian X, riding through Copenhagen on his great white horse, signifying that he was the king of Denmark and the Germans were irrelevant.
Similarly, Miss Pross was a firm believer in monarchy. She says “in the future we rest our case with George III. God save the gracious George III.” You know, when they have the fight, Miss Pross and Madame Defarge, she says “I am English. I am stronger than you.” Madame Defarge had the gun, but Pross had faith she could conquer France and she did.
For those interested in stimulating young minds and opening new roads of adventure, it would be difficult to find a more satisfactory way than through supporting A Noise Within and its youth programs.
Q: What was the most rewarding part of sponsoring a production at ANW?
A: The most rewarding thing is watching the interaction between the actors and the students. The actors take their roles very seriously. They go all out. They have an outstanding ability to grab the attention of students, their undivided attention, and evoke the emotions of the students. It was a really positive experience. That’s the most rewarding thing to see – to see that interaction take place.
Q: You attended a few student matinee performances of the production, can you tell us a little bit about that?
A: I really enjoy the student matinees because they were very emotionally involved. They didn’t hide their emotions. I think maybe with the adult productions, the emotions are there but the audience doesn’t reveal them. I really enjoyed the willingness of the students to show their feelings.
Q: Would you recommend this experience to others?
A: For those interested in stimulating young minds and opening new roads of adventure, it would be difficult to find a more satisfactory way than through supporting A Noise Within and its youth programs. I would strongly recommend if anyone who is interested in stimulating new adventures that they consider supporting ANW.
I think in sponsoring these three productions as I said before, I am the real winner. I benefitted tremendously from my experience. In the beginning of it all, I was persuaded to read A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations because I got interested in Dickens. It brought back memories, very precious memories of things I have experienced in my life. I was the real winner.