I was able to attend the soft opening of Footlight Players first production of their 70th season, “Doublewide, Texas,” and I can’t remember having so much fun at a theater before.
Most of the play takes place in Georgia Dean’s double wide trailer’s living room. The set constructed by Floyd Colosky and expertly dressed and painted by Joy Davidson reveals what Georgia’s signature color is.
The storyline of the play is quite simplistic. How does this tiny little community of mobile homes become established as a Texas town all the while having to cow-tow to the higher-ups? The local residents include with Big Ethel Satterwhite, the town’s visiting nurse, who is portrayed with great comedic force by Diana Hirsch. She is joined by the always fun-to-watch Dee Piotrowski’s character, Georgia Dean, who is the unluckiest cow-gal in love in the whole state of Texas. (FYI: Her ‘seduction scene’ is a hoot and a half). “Baby” Crumpler, who just became a licensed “septician” at Waste Not/Want Not Septic works is next in the mix. What Andrew Vendl brings to this character is comic genius not to be missed.
Returning in their award winning roles from last season are David Mikolajczyk as the play’s antagonist who is a delightfully cranky as well as being the cantankerous cohort to the town celebrity, Caprice Crumpler, played with Carol Burnette-like flair by Laura Meyer. Her character will keep you guessing what she could possibly do to make one scene funnier than the next. She delivers each time.
The remaining residents include Joveeta, the almost “normal” Texan in the bunch, who just wants to move on to a more glamorous life. Then there is and Lark, a strange new age thinker from Oregon who brings her own bundle of problems. Emma Blanchard and Di Younce return to breathe life into these two characters. Two unfamiliar faces on the Footlight Players stage belong to the “Boris/Natasha” bad guy roles. Jay Swindell as Lomax Tanner amusingly shows us how far he will go to slip the rug out from under this group’s feet, while the latest conquest to his “God’s gift to Women’s Charm” is the mouthy wife of Tugaloo’s mayor, Starla Pudney, perfectly played by Danielle Bilderback. This critic is hoping to see these two become Footlight regulars.
If you haven’t already, make a date to start out the up-coming Autumn months with a burst of happiness by making reservations. “Doublewide, Texas” runs Sept. 12-15, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Curtain time is at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $15 with a $10 price on Thursday and for children 12 years and under. As this is a small venue, reservations are suggested. The theater’s number is 219-874-4035 or go online at www.footlightplayers.org.
Footlight Theatre is located at 1705 Franklin Street in Michigan City.