Cathie Anderson: Sacramento "Frankenstein" play inspired organ donors

Published: Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012 - 6:08 pm

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein doesn't survive, but her creature and his story inspired an idea that the Sacramento Theatre Company is keeping alive.

The company presented the play "Frankenstein" around Halloween last year, about a month after Wade Sherman took on the role of business development director. He was struck by a line from the play: "Dr. Frankenstein, your creature is living proof that worn-out parts can be replaced. The list of diseases for which a transplant would be curative is extensive."

He wondered whether the production could be an opportunity to fulfill – in a real-world way – the company's mission of engaging the community on critical issues. He called up Sierra Donor Services, the transplant donor network, to see whether it would be interested in educating the play's audiences about organ donation.

"We ended up seeing almost 200 people choose to become organ donors as a result of the outreach program," Sherman said. "One person becoming a donor can affect up to eight people in terms of improving quality of life or saving lives."

Sierra Donor Services also told its supporters that Sacramento Theatre Company was offering discounts to patrons with pink dots – identifying organ donors – on their driver's licenses. Roughly 300 people claimed the discount.

This season, Sacramento Theatre Company will link up with such nonprofit partners for all of its productions, starting with "The Miracle Worker" on Oct. 3.

"We've partnered with InAlliance," Sherman said. "They provide vocational training, job placement and services that support people with mental and physical challenges."

Sherman estimates that the partnerships will allow STC to introduce its shows to 25,000 people while also allowing each partner group to reach theater audiences.

Curtains for Oz? Not quite

Oh Great and Powerful Oz, it's time you met the guys behind MagicEdit over in West Sacramento.

Robert Watts and Chris Osborn are lifting the curtain on website maintenance, allowing business owners to spend money on original design rather than on updating content.

All too often, Watts said, businesses use a site such as WordPress to get going, though it's better-suited for blogging than Web design. They end up tacking on lots of add-on applications to make it work, but then maintenance and security become headaches. Or, they go with DIY designs on Wix or 1and1 in attempts to simplify maintenance.

At MagicEdit, Watts and Osborn believe it's possible to marry creative freedom and easy maintenance at an affordable price.

"We do what we call a separation of presentation and content," Watts said, "so you want the presentation to be controlled by the professional Web designer. But when it comes to maintaining the text and images, video, whatever is on the page, you want the business owner to be able to own that stuff because things get lost in translation."

Videographer Laurence Campling of Campling Media Productions stopped paying a webmaster to do updates. Instead, he's using MagicEdit.

"It was a revelation to me that I could have a site that I had complete editorial control over and whenever I have to update the content, which in my case … is very often," Campling said. "It's an incredibly elegant program. It's very intuitive."

Click on "edit" buttons to update text, pictures or video, then click "submit." Check out the demo at A company can start a website for free, but a domain name and 1 gigabyte of space cost $15 a month.

Who's that man – or woman – behind the curtain? If it's up to the guys at MagicEdit, it will be the business owner.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the amount of storage space that comes with a $15 subscription to MagicEdit.

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