By Josette Keelor
Area theaters will put the fun in dysfunctional this month, with black comedies beginning next weekend in Winchester and New Market.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning dramedy "Crimes of the Heart" is a deviation from the usual for Winchester Little Theatre, at 315 W. Boscawen St.
Beth Henley's story of three sisters reconnecting years after their mother kills herself and the family cat balances the dark by making light of tragic moments.
Meg, played by Strasburg resident Meagan Haynes, was 11 when she discovered her mother and her old yellow cat hanging in the cellar. Now 27, she leaves behind a failed singing career and returns home where her older sister Lenny is celebrating her 30th birthday with news that youngest sister Babe is in jail for shooting her abusive husband.
"Believe it or not, it is a comedy," said Director Barbara Swink.
Winchester residents Katie DeFiglio and Paige Bailey play Lenny and Babe. Rhonda Kisner of Inwood, West Virginia, is their next-door cousin Chick, James Schlosser of Front Royal plays Babe's lawyer Barnette, and Colt Scott of Strasburg plays Meg's ex, Doc Porter.
"They are a dysfunctional family, but they're fun, and they're very close, as we'll see in the end," Swink said.
And don't underestimate the seventh cast member: stage props, which make up a third of the script alone.
"We pop popcorn on stage and make coffee onstage," Swink said. There's also a new birthday cake every show.
Chris Frear, who handles props with Tamson Stone-Conrad and dresses the set with Nate Windle, furnished most of the set from her own backyard workshop.
"She found the stove at auction for us, for $5," Swink said. "She made the curtains and the floor."
"People really look at this and say, 'Where did you find all of that linoleum?'" Swink explained. "Chris and her husband painted it."
At The Schultz Theatre, 9357 N. Congress St., New Market, "Sordid Lives" is described as a black comedy about white trash.
In Winters, Texas, it doesn't take much to set a cast of characters into chaos: Just a good Christian woman tripping over her lover's wooden legs, hitting her head on a motel room sink and bleeding to death.
Del Shores' award-winning play, which was also a film in the year 2000, includes content for mature audiences, the theater's website warns. Directed by Wendi Black, it's a rip-roaring, raucous tale of what happens when an unexpected death (in an even more unexpected way) brings family together for a burial while also unearthing all their family secrets.
"Crimes of the Heart" will run from May 9 to 24, with performances at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, except on May 24. Tickets are $18.75 for adults, $16.75 for seniors and $14.40 for students. For more information, call 540-662-3331 or visit wltonline.org.
The play runs from May 9 to 18, with performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $13 for adults and $11 for students and seniors. For more information, call 540-740-9119 or visit schultztheatre.com.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or email@example.com>