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A Southern Exposure
a Comedy/Drama
by Kelley Kingston-Strayer

COMPANY : Cumming Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Cumming Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 5437

SHOWING : January 31, 2019 - February 24, 2019



"A Southern Exposure" is an award winning comedy/drama first developed and produced by the Tony Award winning Barter Theatre for their 2011-2012 Season. The play then went on to numerous productions across America, and is currently nominated for Best Play (non-union) in the Column Awards as well as under consideration for a national tour.

Based on a true story, "A Southern Expossure" brings to the stage four Southern women: Hattie, Ida Mae, Callie Belle and Mattie as they attend to the funny, crazy, sad but inevitable business of Love, Forgiveness and Letting go.

Director Mary Claire Klooster
Callie Belle Samantha Bain
Ida Mae Glory Hanna
Hattie Nancy Jensen
Mattie Gloria Szokoly
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Double Exposure
by playgoer
Monday, February 18, 2019
"A Southern Exposure," recently performed by Lionheart Theatre Company in Norcross, is being given another production in Cumming with one of the same cast members (Glory Hanna, as Ida Mae). My feelings about the play remain the same -- I don’t find the character of Callie Belle (Samantha Bain) to be terribly interesting, and the final moment of a hug accompanied by TV baseball sounds doesn’t work -- but the production is entertaining.

The set consists of four elements: a rocking chair far stage left, representing a porch; a kitchen sink wall stage left, backed by a door to the house; a kitchen counter wall up center, with a table and chairs in front of it; and an angled wall unit stage right that functions as a New York apartment in the first act and as a bedroom in the second act. The three wall units are not connected, giving a nice theatrical feel to the set. Props and set decoration are very good, giving the impression that the New York apartment is shared with a man and that the Kentucky house where the bulk of the action takes place is truly lived in.

Other technical elements are fine. Brenda Orchard’s sound design and Joel Noles’ light/sound operation fulfill the minimal requirements of the script and add a few special touches. Costumes and wigs are effective (although an inadvertently inside-out skirt at the performance I attended took a bit away from the intentionally inside-out blouse another character wears).

Mary Claire Klooster’s direction is excellent. The script consists almost entirely of conversations (some on the phone; some face-to-face), so seated talking heads would be a definite possibility, but Ms. Klooster’s blocking has just the right amount of action. Natural kitchen activities punctuate the dialogue, and movement keeps the stage pictures changing at a pleasant rate.

Performances blend together well as an ensemble, so Ms. Klooster deserves praise there too. Nancy Jensen invests grandmother Hattie with lots of often-negative energy, while Gloria Szokoly plays her addled sister Mattie with great sweetness. Ms. Hanna’s sharp-spoken Ida Mae gets lots of laughs, and Ms. Bain’s Callie Belle delivers her lines with great projection, aging subtly over the time span of the script.

The play starts in a comic vein, getting more serious as time goes by, and ends on a sentimental note. The sweetness and humor of an estrogen-fueled Kentucky household comes through clearly, and if Callie Belle’s journey to New York and back isn’t very compelling, the characters all have the ring of truth.

"A Southern Exposure" requires an all-female cast, with the majority of them being "of a certain age," so it fits in well with the requirements of most Atlanta-area community theatres. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it again before long in another area venue. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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