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‘Y’all’ serves up humorous culture clash

Dot Lolly (played by Penny Schrum) applies makeup to Carrie (played by Jaime Phelan) in an attempt to make her look more Southern after spending time in New York City, in the Lincoln Theatre Guild’s production of Y’all, seen here during a Thursday dress rehearsal.

Theatre Guild set to perform comedy

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

Southern women are the stars of the Lincoln Theatre Guild’s performance this month of Ya’ll, a one-act comedy dinner theater that encourages audience members to hold tight to their heritage.
“This day and age, people are trying to re-write Southern history,” 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 “sugars.”
“She (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 it’s part of who you are,” 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 “re-Southernize” the oldest daughter Carrie’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 “Yankee land” accent after an eight-year stay in The Big Apple, and throughout the play, the women learn that her speech isn’t the only Southern quality she’s discontinued. Carrie’s also stopped wearing makeup and other infamous fashions associated with the Southern woman.
Dot has no shame in spouting out her opinion of Carrie’s new look when tells her that she looks like she slept “face down on a bed of nails.” Dot claims everyone should wear makeup because flawless skin just doesn’t exist.
Perhaps, most alarming to the women is the fact that Carrie has forgotten the words to the Southern American classic “Dixie.”
The play’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. “They keep me straight,” he said.
Auditions for Ya’ll were held the end of November with practices taking place three times a week throughout the month of January.
Turbyfill, who’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.
“I like working together with like-minded people on a project,” 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 play’s four performances this month in order to catch a good laugh.
“It’s a really funny show,” she said, “and the actors have a good time and hopefully that will shine through.”
Among other plays Turbyfill’s directed are Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Odd Couple and Driving Miss Daisy.
Ya’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 Council’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 night’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 president@lincolntheatreguild.com.

Stereotypical Southern man Web (played by Tony Willis) talks with Carrie’s mother, Wanda (played by Linda Hunsucker).

Images courtesy of Nayeli Ramirez / LTN

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