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The Homecoming
CATEGORY :
by Christopher Sergel

COMPANY : Southside Theatre Guild [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Southside Theatre Guild [WEBSITE]
ID# 2523

SHOWING : December 06, 2007 - December 16, 2007

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

It´s Christmas Eve, 1933; the middle of the Depression. Clay Spencer has found work in a town nearly 50 miles away from his wife Olivia and his eight children. He's due home at any moment, but as the snow continues to fall the family begins to worry. While searching the storm for his father, Clay-boy meets friends and neighbors who help him "find" more of his father than he ever knew was missing. Join us on Spencer's Mountain this Christmas for The Homecoming by Christopher Sergel, based on the book by Earl Hamner, Jr. This story was the basis for his most famous creation; "The Waltons".


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Heather May
Set Construction Lead Keith Anderson
Lobby Photography Tammy Hyder-Williams
Sound Design Jonny May
Artwork Jonny May
Lighting Design Nancy Norris
Stage Manager Dara Pickren-Davis
Sound Technician Meghan Sheppard
Costume Lead Sandy Utt
Stage Manager Jared Wright
Mark Spencer Nick Anderson
Clay-boy Spencer Caleb Barrett
Clay Spencer Carey Barrett
City Lady Monique Barrett
City Child & Dooly Congregation Chris Brown
City Child & Dooly Congregation Diallo Brown
Olivia Spencer Linda Cochran
City Child & U/S Becky April Coyne
Becky Stephanie Earle
Luke Spencer Preston H. Earle
Grandma Ida Anne Eidson
Grandpa Homer Ray Greene
Sheriff Terry Hoffman
Mary & City Child Sloane Kemp
Charlie Sneed Jonny May
Birdshot Ian McCarthy
Miss Etta Staples Nancy Norris
City Mom Dara Pickren-Davis
Reverend Dooly Andre Powell
Pattie Cake Spencer Madhavi Scharko
Matt Spencer Trey Smith
City Mom Sandy Utt
Ike Godsey Jared Wright
House Manager Celia Hoffman
Box Office Roger Johnson
Box Office Marian Johnson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Waiting For Clay
by Okely Dokely
Sunday, December 9, 2007
2.5
"The Homecoming" marked my third visit to Fairburn’s Southside Theatre Guild. I had previously seen their productions of “The Fantasticks” a few months ago, and “Little Shop of Horrors” in 2004, and was pretty unimpressed with both. I came back because I wanted to see if I’d have a better experience seeing a show that I had never heard of and knew nothing about (as the other two are shows so near and dear to my heart that I will probably be anal about them no matter what production I see). I did have a better time. I didn’t think “The Homecoming” was brilliant, nor will I be rushing out to see another production of it, but it wasn’t bad for what it was.

The plot involves a large Depression-stricken family (the Spencers) as they wait for their father Clay to come home to their cold, wintry house up in the mountains. The story is mainly told through the eyes of their son Clay, known as “Clay-boy.” Caleb Barrett plays Clay-boy. I have nothing but respect for him for diving back into theatre so soon after what I understand was his first show ever recently – as Matt in STG’s “The Fantasticks.” I can already tell he’s growing as an actor, and overall he was fine. Since he’s playing Clay-boy, I am glad that he shaved off his moustache, as it wouldn’t have been appropriate for that role, as it wasn’t appropriate that he had one when he played Matt. That’s not an attack, just an observation that people shouldn’t have facial hair in shows if the role is very young and/or the script specifically calls for the character to be a beardless, callow boy. Outside of theatre, I don’t care if he gets a tattoo of a transsexual midget on his left butt cheek. More power to him if that’s what he wants. On stage, he could use some work on his diction and projection, particularly with speaking slower and more clearly, and not dropping the ends of sentences so much. And in the scene where he was forced to have a few glasses of “egg nog,” I would have liked to have seen him have at least a little bit of a buzz going. But all in all, he’s on the right track.

I imagine Carey Barrett as adult Clay loved playing the Godot-type character. He has one of the smallest roles in the show, but it feels like he’s the star because everybody spends the whole play talking about him. He overacted a tad (at the end when he finally shows up, and I didn’t know if he was drunk, or in a really good mood, or both), but was appealing. It was interesting that until the end, his face was mostly covered up by his Indiana Jones hat. It added a nice mystery to it that we couldn’t really see him until it was time. I have to give special mention also to Stephanie Earle as Becky, Jonny May as Charlie, and Ian McCarthy as Birdshot, who reminded me of Bobcat Goldthwait in “Scrooged.”

I found Linda Cochran’s performance as the mother to be rather bland and one-note. Her delivery lacked variety, texture, and sometimes emotion. It may just be inexperience, though, because it appears that this is her first major role. Also in this department would be Nancy Norris as Etta, who spoke in a high-class uppity voice which was cute for the first few words, but got very annoying very quickly after several lines were delivered exactly the same. But as I thought about it, maybe that was the point. That since we’re being told the story through Clay-boy’s point of view, he was probably pretty bored and annoyed with the two ladies in that scene and just wanted to get out of there, so maybe the author wanted us to share in Clay-boy’s annoyance, and so maybe Ms. Norris was being unwaveringly shrill on purpose. If this is the case, she did a great job.

The set and props were impressively elaborate (they had an old-timey stove borrowed from a local hardware store, and a working sink), with the exception of the Christmas tree, which they couldn’t get to stand up, so it just slumped over toward the stairs. The lighting and sound was hit and miss. In an early scene where there’s an imaginary conversation between Caleb and Carey, there wasn’t enough front lighting, which caused us to lose Caleb’s face when he’d cross to the front stairs. Conversely, in a later scene where the children are watching gifts be distributed, there wasn’t enough lighting right behind the stairs on the front of the stage, which caused us to lose people who crossed up there. Some of the cue changes were really herky-jerky, too. As for the sound, most of the offstage lines were unintelligible. I was ready to say “go ahead and mic the characters talking backstage,” but at the very end of the play when the family is all saying goodnight to each other, I could hear them all perfectly. So wherever they go to sound so good at the end, that’s where all the offstage dialogue needs to be delivered from.

The curtain call ran longer than the audience seemed to want to applaud. I think they could have done some more combining and consolidating of bows.

I’m glad I came to see this. It was a cute little show, for what it was. I will try to return to see Mockingbird, Midsummer, and Birdie. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Well, since no one else will... by Richard Long
Mark,
Since no one has taken the time to treat you with disdain, this is where Richard Long steps in. I feel that since you were on a roll with causing problems over a Southside Theatre Guild review, this could not be left untouched.
"...and so maybe Ms. Norris was being unwaveringly shrill on purpose. If this is the case, she did a great job." That was a jab if I've ever heard one. I'm insulted by this entire remark. You must be upset over not being cast in a show that she directed or something.

"He overacted a tad (at the end when he finally shows up, and I didn’t know if he was drunk, or in a really good mood, or both), but was appealing." If it was appealing, why mention it? I'm insulted by this entire remark. You obviously have an agenda here.

"The set and props were impressively elaborate (they had an old-timey stove borrowed from a local hardware store, and a working sink), with the exception of the Christmas tree, which they couldn’t get to stand up, so it just slumped over toward the stairs." Oh, so now you have a problem with Christmas? I'm insulted by these remarks. You're a heathenist.

Ok, I hope that helps Mark. You're now officially still batting a thousand for STG reviews.


[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

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