One of the most epic franchises of all time came to the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut with its latest film. The newest Star Wars film The Last Jedi came to the Garde bringing in many to the legendary cinema palace. Many parents brought their children, some of them wearing Star Wars logo T-shirts, to see the film in a one of a kind setting.
Before the doors opened there were many people setting up. Two new volunteers were popping the popcorn for the crowd before they came in. I got the chance to talk to them. “I’ve always been interested in theater and I came up here six months ago,” Alexis tells me as she fills up boxes of popcorn who hopes to volunteer backstage. After moving up here with her family from Georgia she was drawn to volunteer at the Garde. She told me about the friendly atmosphere and community she encountered when she first walked in. “I think it is really great that this is a non profit. When I came here for my interview I was amazed by the enormity of the building. When I first came here everyone was so friendly. I got to go back stage and see the dressing rooms. It’s a learning experience,” Alexis excitedly tells me.
Alongside her popping the popcorn is her younger sister Brandy. The film is her first time volunteering here and she already loves it. “I love volunteering here. It is so beautiful,” Brandy tells me commenting on the beauty of the Garde. The two sisters seem interested in volunteering in every aspect of the Garde. “Anything that I can do,” Alexis excited tells me of new found love for the Garde.
As I was talking to Alexis and Brandy many people were buying Star Wars wrapping paper and gift bags. For a contribution of five dollars to P.A.C.E (Partners Arts Community Education) the patrons could pick one. Showing their support for local organizations there were many who were buying the merchandise even after the show.
When the time came for Steve Sigel to take the stage he thanked the sponsors and benefactors before talking about the movie. Remarking on the film being shot in Croatia and Ireland he spoke about the film being Oscar nominated for John Williams score and the actor Anthony Daniels being the only Star Wars actor to appear in all eight films as droid C-3PO. In his final remarks he spoke about Carrie Fisher who portrays the legendary Princess Leia Organa. In her final film before her sudden death he mentioned the film was dedicated to her.
When the film began there were previews for upcoming films at the Garde Darkest Hour on March 1st and The Post on February 17th. When the movie began there was nothing stopping the audience from giving their undivided attention to the screen. There were laughs at times and sighs at other times. When the film ended the audience had burst into applause before leaving. As they made their way out they stopped by and admired posters for future shows like Tape Face on February 15th and The Wizard of Oz on May 3rd. There were many people walking out talking about the newest Star Wars film after seeing it in a movie palace. Only The Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut could provide.