Southern women are the stars of the Lincoln Theatre Guildâ€™s performance this month of Yaâ€™ll, a one-act comedy dinner theater that encourages audience members to hold tight to their heritage.
â€œThis day and age, people are trying to re-write Southern history,â€ actress Penny Schrum said.
Schrum, who plays the part of Southern etiquette coach Dot Lolly, attempts to capture the graceful extravagance and charming nature of Southern women everywhere through her role. Her character comes across as confident and sassy but with a caring disposition best displayed when she addresses the women as â€œsugars.â€
â€œShe (Dot) can be such a caricature of the Southern woman, but she has a heart and a message to not leg go of your past because itâ€™s part of who you are,â€ she said.
According to Director Diane Turbyfill, the 30-minute play, written by Elizabeth Scales Rheinfrank, follows the lives of a mother, her two daughters and their infamous Mississippi-based cake business.
After the Food Network contacts the women about featuring their business on television, Wanda, played by Linda Hunsucker, joins with her youngest daughter Shannon, played by Allyson Levine, in trying to â€œre-Southernizeâ€ the oldest daughter Carrieâ€™s newly acquired Yankee accent. This is done with the aid of Dot, owner of Southern Belle in Training (SBIT).
Carrie, played by Jaime Phelan, has assimilated the â€œYankee landâ€ accent after an eight-year stay in The Big Apple, and throughout the play, the women learn that her speech isnâ€™t the only Southern quality sheâ€™s discontinued. Carrieâ€™s also stopped wearing makeup and other infamous fashions associated with the Southern woman.
Dot has no shame in spouting out her opinion of Carrieâ€™s new look when tells her that she looks like she slept â€œface down on a bed of nails.â€ Dot claims everyone should wear makeup because flawless skin just doesnâ€™t exist.
Perhaps, most alarming to the women is the fact that Carrie has forgotten the words to the Southern American classic â€œDixie.â€
The playâ€™s lone male actor, Tony Willis, fills the role of Web, the father. Web epitomizes a fiery, Southern man. Some might even call him a hillbilly after witnessing his attempts to hunt down a man whom he believes is a Yankee trespassing on his property.
Willis said he more than enjoyed working alongside five other women, including the director. â€œThey keep me straight,â€ he said.
Auditions for Yaâ€™ll were held the end of November with practices taking place three times a week throughout the month of January.
Turbyfill, whoâ€™s parents helped found the Lincoln Theatre Guild in the 1980s and who has directed a number of other Guild performances over the years, praised the cast for how well they worked together on the show.
After performing in various local plays at a young age, Turbyfill said she now prefers directing and stage management.
â€œI like working together with like-minded people on a project,â€ she said. She added that directing allows her to work simultaneously on her organizational skills and creativity.
She encourages everyone in the community to attend one of the playâ€™s four performances this month in order to catch a good laugh.
â€œItâ€™s a really funny show,â€ she said, â€œand the actors have a good time and hopefully that will shine through.â€
Among other plays Turbyfillâ€™s directed are Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Odd Couple and Driving Miss Daisy.
Yaâ€™ll performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again Feb. 17-18 at the Lincoln Cultural Center. A special senior performance will be 3 p.m. Feb. 12. Tickets are free for seniors through an annual grant the Guild received from the North Carolina Arts Councilâ€™s Grassroots Arts Program. Seniors must have a ticket to enter the show.
In addition, a local Southern-style band will take the stage prior to each nightâ€™s Guild performance. For more information on the play, a band list, or to purchase tickets, call (704) 732-9055, visit www.lincolntheatreguild.com or email Guild President Becky Reavis at firstname.lastname@example.org.