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Dearly Departed
a Comedy
by David Botrell & Jessie Jones

ID# 1189

SHOWING : March 11, 2005 - April 02, 2005



In the backwoods of the Bible Belt, the beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the South are seldom tidy and always hilarious.

Cast Jim Dailey
Director Jim Dailey
Board Operator Murray Mann
Stage Manager Carol Strange
Rev. Hooker Ken Bogle
Ray-Bud John Donnelly
Lucille Shannon Kraiger
Marguerite Ginger McMichael
Junior Clark Montoya
Suzanne Kasey Skeen
Bonnie Kia Stephens
Veda Carol Strange
Raynelle Moira Callaghan Thornett
Bud, Norval Brian Thornett
Nadine Robin Thornett
Juanita Karen Walsh
Delightful Sami Watson
Royce Jay White
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by houndog
Thursday, March 24, 2005
I laughed so hard at this production that I would have been embarassed - but everybody else was laughing just as hard. What a great show! The funniest person in the cast (Brian Thornett as Norval) had no lines - but he sure didn't need them! There were just enough serious moments to allow the audience to collect themselves and try to focus on the deeper meaning.
The cast was wonderful! The principal characters (or at least the sane ones in the family), Raynelle (Moria Thornett) and Ray-bud (John Donnelly) were portrayed expertly. They both were able to transition easily from the very funny to the more dramatic parts, without losing their credibility. Kasey Skeen as Suzanne played the shrew marvelously. Samantha Watson as the belligerent teen was very believable. Ginger McMichael played the bible-thumping Marguerite to perfection.
Sets were minimal, and used some area lighting and a table, etc. that was used in various locales. The script is written is many short vignettes - I lost count, but it seemed to be about 14 or so scenes - so there isn't much time to change sets. One set change was kinda noisy - moving a car on and off.
The theater is nicely set up. Looks like it seats about 80 or so. Sight lines are good. I was about 2/3 of the way back and could see fine, although that might have been a problem for someone short. Sound and lighting were great.
I Second Your Motion Hounddog by segue
This show was a delightful dark comedy. Much of the acting was pitch-perfect, especially by the leads. Moria Thornett and John Donnelly stood out the most. Although not quite as solid as these two fine actors, the entire cast contributed in their own way. Everyone gave realistic and energetic performances.
And I must add the stage direction was by the far best I’ve seen in many months.
Bravo ACT1!
Dearly Departed
by Brode Tuwall
Saturday, March 12, 2005
“Dearly Departed” is advertised as a comedy and it is. However, is also serious drama, a slice of life, as only comedy can present it. There is something here for everyone: a bit of the storied “old south”; moments of engaging pathos; hilarious mutilation of language; contemporary references to the famous; and actors who show more than tell.

The set is minimal and just right. The scenes move from “split staging” to “on the road scenes.” In between we have the hint of a funeral chapel, a family wake, and front porch at the family homestead. All of this is done with the help of a few created props, common tables, dishware, chairs, a bench and excellent sound effects and lighting by Murray Mann.

For me to single out any performer as better than another would be a travesty. Every actor became their character and delivered the action and lines accordingly. ( I noticed only one rushed line delivery and it was quickly covered in such a way that everything appeared seamless.) There was energy. The actors related to each other as real people and it seemed they forgot the audience - the mark of good acting. Everyone of them delivered the funny lines as laughable and the sad ones with pathos.

This being said, I think it appropriate to make a comment about several actors. The first comments I would make is about two who carried their parts with few words: Brian Thornett and Samantha Watson. Brian Thornett played two roles: Bud and Norvel. Tim Conway could not have done Norvel’s role better. When Brian died as Bud with his face in his oatmeal I began to worry that Raynelle might not get his head up before he smothered. Samantha had me convinced the whole way that she was the bratty, self-absorbed and totally insensitive character she played.

The other scenes that were memorable drama were lines delivered by John Donnelly as Ray-Bud , Moira Thornett as Raynelle and Jarrell White as Royce. These three carried the serious and sane commentaries in the story. John Donnelly was convincingly the one figure who represented reason and sensitivity. Moira Thornett, the abused widow, left us with a final line that hit my gut with a kind of philosophical resolution. Jarrell White, the neer- do- well was a convincing detached deadbeat who refused to let the insanity of others enter the circle of his insanity.

You will miss a good play if you don’t see this one. As a character play it rises well above a mere amateur production.


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