Max Hall and Stacey Davis had known of each other through local theater for many years, but it wasn’t until “Mary Poppins” that the magic hit.
Now they’re in their own house, and will resume their wedding plans — after their hectic schedule for the “Patriot Players Christmas Spectacular” comes to a close.
Hall, 33, teaches sixth-grade science at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School, and Davis, 26, is a customer service receptionist at New College Institute. But those are just their day jobs.
Hall is known for comedic and straight acting roles, and Davis is known for dancing. The first show of the seven shows they have been in together was the Patriot Players’ “Legally Blonde” in 2015.
Performing together in the Patriot Players’ “Mary Poppins” in the fall of 2016 “was pretty awesome,” Hall said. “We started talking more backstage and got each other’s phone numbers.”
They spent the next couple of months after the show ended texting each other, he said, and then started dating.
“From the first time I met her, I was able to tell she’s a very sweet person,” he said, and “the more I learned about her, I wanted to get to know her even more.”
Plus, “I always enjoyed watching her dance. She’s very graceful,” and he said he always had thought she was gorgeous.
Davis said she “always enjoyed being on stage” with Hall. “He’s really funny and a really good actor. I was surprised when he started talking to me more.”
His comical dancing around backstage always cracks her up, she said.
When it came to the proposal, however, Hall was serious, going about it the traditional way. He got on blended knee last January to offer her a ring at a restaurant in Garden City Beach in South Carolina.
By prior arrangement, a server took pictures of the scene, the couple silhouetted against the sunset over an inlet. “I was kind of amazed I was able to pull it off,” Hall said.
Davis said she had been expecting an engagement would come at some point, but he really did surprise her at the restaurant with the proposal.
The start of their house-hunting was just speculative, looking at pretty houses in ads rather than planning seriously to buy one. It wasn’t long, however, before they decided to take the plunge with real estate.
‘We looked at a lot,” Hall said. “We had different lists. The top five houses would come in and out of favor every week.”
They found one to commit to in June, and closed on it in August.
Part of their plans for the house include making an area in the basement for her to dance, for him to play guitar and for them to practice lines together.
Buying, then moving into, the house distracted them from their wedding plans. Now being in “Christmas Spectacular” together also is taking away their attention, but they said they expect they’ll get back to planning their ceremony and reception after the show closes in mid-December.
Being in a show takes a tremendous strain on their time, they said, but it’s also a great way to spend time together.
They won’t always aim for the same productions, though — “I’m more into the dance-heavy [productions], and he likes the straight plays,” Davis said.
Both said being in two big shows a year is a good limit. A show takes about 20 to 25 hours a week for eight to 10 weeks.
“It pretty much upends your entire schedule,” Hall said. A normal household routine “goes out the window” for two and a half months.
Now that they are in rehearsals for “Christmas Spectacular,” which opens Thursday, they have been rushing to the Walker Fine Arts Theatre nearly every day after work, grabbing a bite to eat along the way. “We’ll try to worry about the healthy part later,” he said.
For people who work full time, community theater requires “a tremendous amount of coordination and a certain willingness to roll with it and be adaptable,” he said.
“It’s certainly worth it, too. Once it’s done, you’re glad to have your time back, but it’s also something you really enjoy,” he added.
Their shared love of theater “definitely gives us a lot in common, a lot to talk about,” he said.
When they aren’t on stage, they like to go see other shows, they said.
“I love being able to go,” Davis said. The theater gives them “more time together doing something we both enjoy.”
Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.